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Water crisis will have a significant impact on Cape wine industry

As the drought now afflicting most of the agricultural and many of the urban sites of the Western and Eastern Cape cuts ever deeper into the fabric of communities, all non-essential consumption is being assessed to determine its relative priority status.

Those who still enjoy access to any water and whose need is commercial – rather than for the sustenance of human life – are already finding themselves in some kind of a competitive pitch, either in the court of public opinion or for priority once the water tenders come trundling in.

In this, the wine industry finds itself in a better position than Cape Town’s restaurants, hairdressers and hotels – if only because, for the time being at least, it’s not facing a certain Day Zero. When the taps go dry in the Mother City, the vines won’t die (at least, not overnight) and there will be years worth of maturing stock to sustain wine producers (as opposed to grape growers) till the rains come, as one day they will.

Where the growers will face some mid- to long-term concerns will be when it comes to prioritising grape farming in the overall context of agriculture. The wine industry may be a major contributor to the economy of the Western Cape, but it is politically alienated. It’s going to have a tough time arguing for its water rights in the face of the demands of other consumers, whether those who seek potable water, those providing more essential foodstuffs, those who can produce evidence that litre for litre (to parody the late Clive Weil’s “trolley for trolley”) they generate more revenue, more employment, or a better fiscal contribution than other competitors for this resource.

Some regions and districts are better off than others: Elgin, around an hour’s drive from Cape Town, catches more precipitation than many of the coastal appellations and has adequate water supplies for fruit growing and wine-making – for the moment. On the other hand, this year the high-volume, irrigation-dependent growers along the banks of the Olifant’s River could see well over 50% of their potential crop lost – simply because their operations have been designed around optimising crop size (rather than quality) by massively hydrating their vines.

The Clanwilliam dam level is so low that grape growers will be allocated a mere 17% of their normal uptake. While for such large-scale farming operations the drought spells bad news, their crisis will have a relatively small impact on consumers of fine wines. The price of cask wine would go up, as would the price of those beverages which depend on this low-cost grape-based alcohol. The fruit juice industry would also have to look elsewhere for the concentrate with which they create their particular brand of sugary drink.

Vines, as viticulturists constantly remind us, are weeds. They may not thrive on neglect, but unlike roses, for example, they are hardy andrelatively drought-resistant. (In France it is illegal to irrigate vineyards producing appellation contrôlée wines). Vines will not necessarily produce their best fruit under arid conditions, but they will survive, and in some circumstances they might do very well. The best two Coastal Region vintage years in recent memory in South Africa were 2015 and 2017, while 2016 produced some very good wines. This trio of vintages (particularly the latter two) sit firmly in the era of constrained water supply. The 2018 crop will certainly be smaller – even in the areas which are not as dependent on irrigation as the Olifants River – but the smaller berry size could lead to more concentrated flavours. The concerns for now are the potential for excessive vine stress during the ripening season, as well as heat spikes going into the key weeks leading up to the vintage. The next month or two will provide empirical results.

The much more serious effect of the water shortage could be in its impact on wine producers – in other words, those who convert the fruit into wine. Wineries are food factories and consume an enormous amount of water. Many were built in an era when water conservation wasn’t front of mind. In the past couple of decades planning permission has been linked to waste water management, but even here this has generally meant containing the chemicals and waste removed in cleaning and flushing the tanks, barrels and winery buildings. In a situation which is not unlike the one presently confronting hairdressers and restaurateurs, winery owners may have to find a way of performing the processes which define their economic activity without the supplies of water that they have, until now, taken for granted. Recycling what they are able to obtain would certainly be a key component of whatever strategy they devise – but they would have to be more willing (than the Western Cape authorities, for example) to work on the assumption that water shortages are here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.

Small-scale water recycling plants – of the kind which enable rural real estate developers to provide proper water-borne sewerage management (rather than the more old-fashioned septic tank treatments) cost around R900,000 and turn waste into potable water. This is not an investment lightly undertaken if you believe that by the 2019 vintage the dams will be full. However, if you need to plan the continued existence of a business whose real window of opportunity is a three-month period between the time the grapes come into your cellar, and the fermentation has been complete, you can’t disregard the importance of making the investment: it’s no different from installing generators, inverters and UPS back-ups in a time of load shedding.

The 2018 water crisis is going to have a significant impact on the Cape wine industry. Its primary impact – looking at the whole value chain from vineyards to the distribution of finished wine – will initially be a marginal decline in fine wine availability, a more significant decline (with a commensurate increase in price) in the vin ordinaire sector, with higher average costs per litre produced. These initial shortages may help the industry achieve its objective of a structural re-pricing exercise (though I wouldn’t hold my breath). The bigger question of whether the production sector will be able to adjust to an environment in which supplies of water are semi-permanently constrained will depend on the availability of financial resources, as well as the willingness to invest.

There is a final consideration, seemingly unimportant in the face of more pressing needs, which does need to factored into the industry’s long-term planning: its lobbyists constantly remind government that wine is a key driver of international tourism, which in turn makes an important contribution to the GDP of the Western Cape. If there are fewer tourists because of the long-term effects of the drought, less wine will be sold. Likewise, if the wine industry declines, so might the number of tourists. There will of course be a new equilibrium – but it will come with less employment and more hardship, spread through a population whose prospects are already looking pretty grim.

Source: dailymaverick

South Africa produces shocking amount of waste – South Africans contributes more than 17 million tons of waste that end up in landfills.

The Department of Environmental Affairs recently released shocking stats that more than 17 million tons of waste were disposed of across 120 landfills in 2017.

The Glass Recycling Company looked at seven key factors that impact recycling successes in South Africa.

Below are seven factors that will continue playing a successful role in recycling:

  • Currently South Africa does not have punitive mandatory legislation in place which makes separation of recyclables at source, (where recyclable material which includes glass, paper, metal and certain plastics is separated from the waste stream) in homes, offices, restaurants and bars. Mandatory separation at source in SA will ensure greater recycling success in years to come.
  • In many developing countries like ours, an informal ‘collector market’ has evolved. Recyclables are collected by individuals in order to generate a source of income. This includes individuals who both collectively or independently retrieve recyclables from home or business waste and sell these recyclables to buy back centres.
  • These are community-based multi-recycling centres that buy recyclable waste such as paper, plastic, cans and glass from collectors and then sell it on to packaging manufacturers.
  • Approximately 50 000 South Africans earn an informal source of income from collecting waste glass and selling this valuable packaging to entrepreneurial buy-back centres.
  • South Africa has one of the most efficient returnable bottle systems in the world spearheaded by our beer, wine and spirit manufacturers.
  • These returnable glass bottles are sent back to the beverage manufacturers to be sterilised, inspected and refilled, making each glass bottle achieve numerous trips.
  • A carbon-friendly trend is closed-loop recycling. Glass, for example, fully meets the formal definition of a Closed Loop System, i.e. bottle-to bottle recycling – whereby material is recycled into the same product (i.e. a bottle becomes a new bottle or jar).
  • Recycling glass has huge environmental benefits; it saves landfill space, saves raw materials, lessens demand for energy, and reduces CO2 emissions. As a result, the maximum environmental benefits are achieved in South Africa.
  • Manufacturers are certainly assisting in diverting waste from landfill. Consol Glass and Nampak Glass have both invested significantly in the development of high-level cullet processing plants; these include the presence of advanced technology meaning that consumers do not need to sort glass into its three primary colours (brown, green or clear) as this is done at the processing plants by means of optical sorting.
  • With the future of our country in the hands of our youth, it is vital to build enthusiasm amongst the youth regarding recycling and green behaviours. Many brands are trying to encourage this, however, there is certainly space to do more. Recycling brands often run campaigns and competitions to encourage recycling in schools.
  • As South Africans are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and responsible, the demand for recycling points has increased. The Glass Recycling Company now has more than 4 000 glass banks located nationally which makes it easier for the public to recycle their glass.

Source: sandtonchronicle

Image: sandtonchronicle

Wood – Creating a global service mining & minerals industry leader

The launch of Wood on 9 October 2017 represented a significant occasion for all who have been part of the legacy organisations.

Both Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler have been evolving for a number of years. For Wood Group, this journey gained momentum in 2015 following the decision to restructure the company around its service offering in July 2016. Amec’s acquisition of Foster Wheeler in November 2014 and subsequent transformation programme were key stages in Amec Foster Wheeler’s development.

The need for the Wood Group’s fundamental change was brought into sharp focus with the deteriorating market conditions within the oil and gas sector that started in 2014. The services industry has been forced to respond to greatly reduced levels of activity in some of the most mature basins, and ways to reduce volatility caused by commodity price fluctuations have come into focus.

In March 2017, the Wood Group approached Amec Foster Wheeler to combine the two world-class organisations. “It was an opportunity to execute a broader strategy by greatly increasing the company’s exposure to non-oil and gas end markets and adding new capabilities,” says Martin Smith, Senior Vice-President: Mining & Minerals, EMEA region and country manager for Wood South Africa.

“For Amec Foster Wheeler, it was the opportunity to increase its size and scale in a tough market. The possibilities of creating something new that is more competitive and compelling than either legacy organisation alone was what led to the decision to form Wood from the combination of both companies.”

In South Africa, the new entity will see the legacy MDM Engineering and Amec GRD, already combined in 2016 under the Amec Foster Wheeler banner, grow from strength to strength with support and access to high value technical expertise – specifically in automation and control and digital solutions which can be applied to mines of the future.

Wood has the capability to deliver projects from concept to closure in a broad range of commodities, to support some of the most logistical and technically challenging mining projects in the world. The business has many global offices with main execution centres in Vancouver, Santiago, Johannesburg and Perth, providing front-end geology, process and environmental design through conceptual and detail design, project management, construction, operations and mine closure.

In the EMEA region, Mining & Minerals are led from the Johannesburg office. Following on from the Husab uranium project in Namibia, the office is now getting ready to start the execution of another uranium project, Berkeley’s Salamanca, in Spain.

Gold and diamonds are two other commodities that feature heavily in Wood’s Africa portfolio with the recently completed Petra Diamonds Cullinan project (plant expansion and upgrade) in South Africa and the Tasiast Phase 2 project (EPCM) for Kinross Gold in Mauritania.

Although the commodity market remains under pressure, some signs of recovery are noticeable. Mining & Minerals, under the new Wood brand, intends to increase market share in 2018 onwards and expand its capabilities with global support and skills.

By harnessing the “power of three” – being the inherent strength of the Wood Group, Amec and Foster Wheeler – Wood aims to be the new global leader in technical, engineering and project services, operating in more than 60 countries, with a revenue of over US$11 billion and over 160 years’ experience. In Africa, Mining & Minerals will continue through its unique “fit-for-client” approach to service both larger and smaller clients.

Source: miningreview

Image: miningreview

2018 brings new construction business opportunities to KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is realising its vision to become a prosperous province and a gateway to Africa and the world.  The province already contributes upwards of 16% to South Africa’s overall GDP and boasts the highest export propensity and level of industrialisation in the country.

In line with KwaZulu-Natal’s emergence as a hub of industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa, the 2nd annual KZN Construction Expo opens its doors on 7 February 2018 in Durban – convening thousands of construction professionals, government and investors to support the infrastructure development, service delivery, development partnerships and industry transformation currently underway in the province.

The KZN Construction Expo provides an unprecedented opportunity to access the province’s building and construction value chain, ranging from concrete; construction; digital construction; mechanical, electrical & plumbing; surfaces & finishes; smart buildings/ ecobuild and tools & equipment. This interactive platform not only catalyses new investment into infrastructure but also builds capacity for local architects, construction professionals and small to medium sized contractors through free education and technical skills development during training workshops.

Industry transformation is at the top of the agenda for 2018 and highlighted during the 2nd annual KZN Construction Expo through various interactive presentations and training workshops.  Aubrey Tshalata, National President of the National African Federation for the Building Industry will address the audience on the topic of enterprise development. The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry – one of the event partners and supporters – will highlight opportunities for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises within KwaZulu-Natal’s construction sector.

Sponsored by Spider Mini-CranesCarmix and SA Leak Detection and supported by over 60 exhibiting companies and 20 association partners including the Concrete Society of South Africa, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, South African Council for Architectural Professions, The Concrete Institute and the Southern Africa Ready-Mix Association, the 2018 edition of the KZN Construction Expo is an unprecedented opportunity to access KZN’s building and construction value chain in a unique setting allowing for prestigious visibility, interactive networking and on-site demonstrations.

Register for your free expo ticket here.

Entries now open for the 2017/18 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

Practitioners passionate about contributing to a better future for all are invited to enter the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

This prestigious biennial award, founded by AfriSam and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), recognise the contributions that bring sustainable innovation to human living environments through an integrated approach to communities, planning, design, architecture, building practice, natural systems and technology.

“This award recognises the importance of ‘green’ building in a palpable way while enabling us to highlight and commend excellence shaping our communities for livable sustainability,” says Maryke Cronje, SAIA President and convenor for the 2017/18 Award.

As co-founder and sponsor of the Award, leading construction materials producer, AfriSam, continues its partnership with SAIA in bestowing the Award.

Apart from recognising excellence in Sustainable Architecture and Research in Sustainability, the Award also invites entries that make innovative contributions in the fields of Sustainable Products and Technology, and Sustainable Social Programmes.

According to Richard Tomes, Sales and Marketing Executive at AfriSam, the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation is a natural extension of the AfriSam brand and reflects the company’s commitment to sustaining the environment through responsible manufacturing processes.

“At AfriSam we believe in creating concrete possibilities. This extends far beyond just the products that we manufacture. We believe that through responsible and sustainable business practices today, we are creating a future of possibilities for our children and their children,’ he says.

Entries for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation close at 00:00 on March 24 2018 and will be accepted in four categories:

  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Research in Sustainability
  • Sustainable Products and Technology, and
  • Sustainable Social Programmes

Project entries should demonstrate how they embody sound sustainable practices, that bear the hallmarks of great architectural or social design and innovative thinking in the field of sustainability, to improve our world.

The adjudicators for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation are Maryke Cronje (architect and President of the SAIA), Dr Sechaba Maape (sustainability architecture academic and architect), Philippa Tumubweinee (academic and co-founder of IZUBA INafrica Architects), Niraksha Singh (AfriSam Raw Materials and Sustainability Manager), Emmanuel Nkambule (academic with particular interest in the social environment) and Richard Stretton (founder of architecture and furniture design studio Koop Design). Stretton received the 2010 and 2014 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture and a 2014 Merit Award.

Issued by Conversation Capital

Contact Ally Cordiglia

021 422 2342

072 014 2780

ally@conversationcapital.co.za

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The World Bank Will Stop Fossil Fuel Financing Beginning in 2019

In a move sure to be celebrated by opponents of fossil fuel-based energy, the World Bank has just made a huge announcement at the One Planet summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron. The bank, which provides loans to developing countries to foster economic growth, announced on December 12 that it will no longer offer financial support for oil and gas exploration after 2019.

During the summit, the bank released a statement saying it “will no longer finance upstream oil and gas,” citing a need to change in a “rapidly changing world.” In 2015, the bank previously vowed to have 28% of its portfolio dedicated to climate action by 2020. The bank’s latest statement on fossil fuel financing suggests that it is on course to achieve that goal.

This is yet another blow to the fossil fuel energy industry, and a seemingly significant win for environmental advocates. The economics surrounding the energy sector are increasingly making it more attractive for entities to switch to renewable energy. Across the world, it has become cheaper to build new renewable energy installations than to operate and maintain existing coal power plants.

The World Bank’s plan does lay out a caveat for “exceptional circumstances,” saying that they will consider “…financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments.”

The Paris agreement is a major factor in the decision. The One Earth summit was planned on the two-year anniversary of the historic agreement, which was looking uncertain after the President of the United States, one of the major financial and influential member nations, decided to withdraw. Even so, the agreement looks to be thriving, even in the US, which may reach the goals laid out in Paris against all odds.

Source: futurism

Be Environmentally Responsible

According to a Plastics SA Survey, mechanical recycling of plastics has increased by 5, 9% domestically from 2015 to 2016. Polyco Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé, is pleased by this result but feels that more can be done over the festive season.

“It’s great that more South Africans are playing an active part in recycling. The more individuals who recycle and share their tips, the brighter the future.”

Here are some easy recycling tips for the year ahead:

Let’s get one thing clear:

The first step to recycling responsibly is understanding what is recyclable and where your recyclable items should go. Recycling is as simple as separating your waste into one of two bags: black refuse or clear refuse bags. Clear refuse bags are used in order to differentiate the recyclable waste from the organic waste or non-recyclable items.

‘Tis the season for consumption:
From a tub of ice cream to a bottle of soda or a cheeky snack; whatever your pleasure, remember that most of these packaging items can be recycled. A simple trick to assist recyclers is to wash used food packaging items out in your used dishwashing water (to get rid of excess food or liquid), ensuring a seamless journey from collection to waste conversion. Remember to be water-wise if you’re in the Western Cape!

Cracking the code to recycling:
Products made from plastic are safe, versatile and affordable, but did you know that there are seven different types of plastic? Better yet, did you know that most of these types are recyclable? Remember to look out for these recycling codes on the packaging.

  • Code 1: PET (made of polyethylene terephthalate) is used in a range of food and household packaging items, but it’s your soda and water bottles that need to go into the clear refuse bag for recycling.
  • Code 2: HDPE (made of high-density polyethylene) is used for strong and rigid packaging such as milk bottles, juice bottles and household cleaning bottles.
  • Code 3: PVC (made of polyvinyl chloride) is predominantly used in the building and construction industries, as well as the healthcare environment (such as syringes). It is used in very small quantities in packaging items and therefore currently not recycled in SA, so do not throw it into your clear refuse bag.
  • Code 4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is the most widely recycled plastic material in South Africa. LDPE can be found in plastic food wraps, plastic shopping bags, frozen food bags and bread bags.
  • Code 5: PP (polypropylene) can be found in your favourite yogurt container, bottle caps and medicine bottles.
  • Code 6: PS (polystyrene) is used in take-away containers, as well as in your fruit, meat and vegetable containers.
  • Code 7: Other refers to any other – or multi-layered – material used. Some examples include soup packaging and chip bags. These are currently not recycled in SA and therefore should not be included in your clear refuse bag.

Recycle me not:
Whilst recycling can be simplified, it is also important to be aware of what cannot be recycled. Be sure to toss soggy and wet items (from food or liquid) into your black refuse bag so that they do not contaminate the recyclable material, which would then make it much more difficult to recycle. Watch this video to learn more about what cannot be recycled: https://youtu.be/hT7oxOgFJJk

Where to next?

Once your recyclables bag is full, simply leave it on the pavement outside of your home on the days that your municipality collects the waste. If your municipality does not collect recyclables, visit www.mywaste.co.za and find the nearest drop off point or recycling depot.

For more top tips on responsible recycling over the festive season, visit www.polyco.co.za