Schneider Electric innovations shine in Germany

In an ever-changing digital world, for everything from new business models and new consumer technologies to new infrastructure, energy and power systems – the digital transformation is inescapable. The fourth industrial revolution, or smart manufacturing, has accelerated the move to digital technologies that offer a competitive advantage to every company and every geographical zone that adopts them.

Augmented reality, IoT, IIoT, machine learning and predictive maintenance are making companies more efficient and innovative, boosting their competitive advantage. Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, recently took to Hannover Messe 2018, the world’s leading trade show or industrial technology, in Germany to showcase its latest innovations for industrial companies.

As energy and automation develop into a more digitally connected environment, these new technologies are capable of ensuring that power-sensitive automation equipment remains operational, boosting power reliability and cost savings by improving the speed and accuracy of the processes they are tasked with.

Bridging the divide between complexity and human capabilities by using control devices and technology for automated operation and control, digitisation allows for better support and faster decision making by providing operational insight, encouraging efficient use of resources to maximise assets and production output, simplifying tasks, and integrating the implementation of plant strategies.

“At Schneider Electric, we believe that integrating power and automation systems through IoT has the potential to bring together the best features of both systems, enhancing processes while introducing safer, more reliable, efficient, sustainable, and connected power,” Marc Ramsay, Vice President for the Industry Business Unit, Schneider Electric South Africa.

As the leader in powering and digitising industry, Schneider Electric is uniquely positioned to drive the digital transformation of today’s growing industrial automation markets and assist industrial customers in their conversions. Significant changes are fundamentally accelerating this movement in the industrial space.

“With EcoStruxure for Industry, Schneider Electric offers a truly unified engineering approach that can be deployed across multiple industrial segments. Leveraging our unique partnership with AVEVA, we can offer an unmatched set of solutions covering all aspects of digital asset management from process simulation to design, construction and manufacturing operations management and optimisation,” Ramsay said.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Industry offers open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform, where users benefit from enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity.

Leveraging all advancements in IoT, including mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cyber security through connected products – Edge Control, Apps, Analytics and Services, EcoStruxure has been deployed in over 480,000 sites worldwide.

“With the support of 20,000 system integrators and developers, EcoStruxure currently has 1.6 million assets under management, and that figure is expected to grow by 25% year-on-year for the foreseeable future. This figure ties in with Accenture’s recent report, citing that at present, 64% of executives believe that a failure to leverage digital will cause their companies to struggle for survival,” says Marc Ramsay, Vice President for the Industry Business Unit, Schneider Electric South Africa.

Strengthening their commitment to digitising industry, Schneider Electric also unveiled EcoStruxure Machine Advisor during a presentation at Hannover Messe, 2018.

EcoStruxure Machine Advisor now make it possible to track, monitor and fix machines in the field while reducing support costs by 30 to 50%.

“Where managers struggle to track the history of the many machines that fall under their scope of responsibility, or when parts need replacing, production is interrupted, and the downtimes are much too long. Maintenance technicians often spend far too much time attempting to locate different sets of documentation before they can begin productive work on fixing the machine. Schneider Electric’s recent breakthrough with this new technology is now directly addressing these challenges by providing new ways of both gathering, centralising and displaying machine-generated data.”

About Schneider Electric 

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.

With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software.

In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency.

We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

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Innovation and an appreciation of South Africa’s cultural diversity stand out in The University of the Free State, Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards

Innovation is the standout quality that differentiates design resolutions and helps define architecture as special and appreciated by one’s peers. Innovation in sync with context provides the delight factor permitting architectural design to compete comfortably on the world stage. Technical skill, the ability to create memorable form that draws one in while treading softly on our planet is what puts the finishing touches to sustainable architecture. South African architecture continues to take positive strides also demonstrating an extra creative dimension unique in a country where the shaping of the urban landscape requires an appreciation of the complexities of creating an inclusive built environment.

This was said by Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, ahead of the 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, which are held annually to acknowledge and reward outstanding talent in South Africa.

The competition involves the country’s eight major universities where the best architectural students are identified based on their final theses and presented with awards at regional events. The winners of each of the regional competitions then go on to compete for the national title at the 31st Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards in Johannesburg in April 2018

Ockert Van Heerden Corobrik Sales Director presented prizes to the winners from University of the Free State.

Su-Elna Bester won first prize of R8 000, second prize of R6 500 went to Wim Boshoff and third prize of R4 500 was presented to Jani Schreuder.   An additional prize of R4 500 for the best use of clay masonry was awarded to Jacques Steyn.

Su-Elna Bester’s thesis is entitled, ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Centre of Dubai.’  She says, “The Multicultural Centre is situated next to the famous Dubai Creek. Forming part of the traditional desert like vernacular architecture creating a special vibrant pedestrian waterfront & cultural hub. The centre is home to all different cultures & communities. The MCAC waterfront forms a setting for self-expressions alongside others to affectively build a sense of cultural diversity.

The MCAC & park flowing into the existing city fabric, becomes a place for celebration and transforms according to its needs. Personal interaction is celebrated with its vibrant, fluid walkways, desert plants, water and trees, merging open Gallery & exhibition spaces. The building is sunken into the ground with planted roofs allowing for panoramic views. The restaurant creates an urban environment featuring multiple uses, forming cohesive public spaces. The theatre forms part of the heart of the creek. This encourage visitors to sit alongside the pedestrian designed park to eat together, socialize & explore the middle eastern culture & diverse ex patriate community.

Space belongs to those who can make place of dwelling for themselves within their context. Architecture can act as a tool to form a platform for dialogue between different groups; to create one supportive community that functions culturally alongside each other. This establish a sense of community and place in which both can exist to create a shared cultural experience.

Wim Boshoff’s thesis is a Cinematic Arts Centre, an urban activation through breaking the wall.  He says. “This dissertation is designed around the exploration of breaking ‘walls’ or boundaries in a dormant place to reveal transformation and connectivity within a CBD urban level and how it can contribute towards a design synthesis. It proposes a film Centre in Bloemfontein’s extensive network of educational institutes. The aim is to design a meaningful place of learning, by achieving connectivity through the investigation of movement and the breaking of boundaries.

Jani Schreuder’s thesis is entitled “A Dual Education Centre for Woman and Infants.”   She proposes an education centre for single mothers and an early development centre for their children.  This is aimed at addressing the topical issue of education shortage within our society. It includes a housing scheme to facilitate the re-appropriation of city space into a livable community. The proposal is located within the CBD of Pretoria and was chosen as the dissertation topic because of its social relevance and possible reach.

Jacques Steyn’s Urban Recycling Centre in Bloemfontein won the award for best use of clay brick.  His thesis proposed a new age of recycling process within the 21st century city.   Steyn says in Bloemfontein, like in most modern South African cities, waste can become a big problem with many pedestrians that occupy the CBD. The choice in design was to create a space within the city (Hoffman Square), where people can drop of their waste but also become part of the process of recycling. He incorporated clay brick into the design to become part of the surrounding buildings, but also allowing a design that would be durable.

Van Heerden said that all the winners had shown a close affinity with their subjects and that their designs both enhanced and integrated with the communities in which they were sited.

Speaking about trends in the profession Van Heerden said that Corobrik had noticed a resurgence both internationally and locally in the appreciation of clay brick as a material with important flexibility in design and yet with intrinsic sustainable qualities so appropriate for advancing the affordability of government building projects.

“Whilst clay brick has always been well represented in high end commercial projects, we are seeing more of it being specified for public schools, hospitals, clinics and affordable housing because of the multiple benefits the material brings to a construction project,” Van Heerden said.

“Life time aesthetics, durability and thermal efficiency are just three of the attributes of clay masonry which ensure low lifecycle costs and satisfy sustainability needs, in addition to allowing flexibility for innovative and aesthetically appealing design. These are important attributes which enable architects to create memorable and relevant additions to the built environment in South Africa using clay brick.”

Van Heerden said that the winners in the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards had shown outstanding maturity, innovation and technical skill in their designs which were a credit to the profession in both local and global terms.

Caption:  Su-Elna Bester from the University of the Free State is this year’s regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student Awards.   Her thesis is entitled ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Assimilation Centre of Dubai.   She is pictured with left Ockert van Heerden of Corobrik, Henry Pretorious and Jan Smit from the University

3958; Su-Elna Bester is this year’s regional winner from the University of the Free State for the regional Corobrik Architectural Student Awards.  She is pictures with her thesis model.

Water scarcity under the spotlight at Water Research Council meeting

Water scarcity in South Africa will be high on the agenda of a three-day Water Research Council meeting under the theme “Adaptation to the New Normal”‚ which opened on Monday east of Johannesburg.

South Africa is recovering from the 2016 drought and the Western and Eastern Cape are still experiencing critical water shortages.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyana said the rise of extreme weather patterns because of climate change and a growing global population were realities which impacted on water resources.

“The challenges are global‚ therefore the memoranda of understanding with neighbouring Namibia and the Water Research Council must assist in resolving challenges in the regions‚” she said.

The minister said a high-level panel on water was meeting at the UN this week.

“The outcomes of this symposium must speak to a better water future and encourage international partnerships‚” Mokonyana said.

She said Gauteng enjoyed water from Lesotho because of such a partnership.

Water Research Council CEO Desighen Naidoo said the current infrastructure and regulatory environment in South Africa needed to be revisited with vigour.

Priorities he listed included: “Enabling sustainable development and ensuring universal access to basic services in the new normal through creativity‚ innovation and systems amenable to dynamic adaptation and improvement.”

The council’s biennial symposium is a platform for new knowledge and innovation to improve water and sanitation delivery.

South Africa’s average annual rainfall of 490mm is far lower than that of the global average‚ of 814mm per year‚ according to the WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature).

The authoritative Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas in South Africa reports that more than half of the country’s rivers are being strangled by pollution and water extraction.

Source: talkofthetown

Manufacturing growth expected to remain low in 2016 – UN report

6 September 2016 – A new United Nations report has indicated that global manufacturing growth is expected to remain low in 2016 due to weakened financial support for productive activities.

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The quarterly World Manufacturing Production report, published by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has stated that with financial uncertainty still looming across Europe, foreign direct investment has not yet reached the 2007 pre-crisis level.

According to a UNIDO news release issued yesterday, world manufacturing output is expected to increase by only 2.8 per cent in 2016. However, in contrast to recent years, there will be no breakout from the low-growth trap in 2016.

The agency also warned that lower industrial growth rates pose a challenge for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, as encapsulated by Goal 9, which also aims to significantly raise the share of manufacturing in the economies of developing countries.

It further stated that that manufacturing production is likely to rise by only 1.3 per cent in industrialized countries and by 4.7 per cent in developing ones.

In terms of growth rates for countries, the growth rate performance of China, the world’s largest manufacturer, is likely to further decline from last year’s 7.1 per cent to 6.5 per cent this year. Russia and the United States recorded marginal rises of 1.0 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

Manufacturing output in Japan, however, fell by 1.8 per cent. India too suffered a sudden 0.7 per cent drop in growth figures. In contrast, other Asian countries largely maintained higher growth rates. Manufacturing output rose by 5.6 per cent in Indonesia, 3.9 per cent in Malaysia and 13.5 per cent in Viet Nam.

Additionally, in Europe, the uncertainty following the Brexit affected the growth rate performance in manufacturing in the second quarter of 2016, below 1.0 per cent for the first time since 2013.

Among Latin American economies, manufacturing output fell by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, amid a continuing production decline in the region.

The report further noted that, based on estimates from the limited available, manufacturing output rose by 2.5 per cent in Africa. South Africa, the continent’s largest manufacturer, significantly improved its growth performance to 3.3 per cent in the second quarter. Higher growth rates of 8.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent were achieved in Cameron and Senegal.

In terms of growth estimates by manufacturing sectors, the report stated that the production of tobacco fell for the second consecutive quarter, declining by 2.6 per cent.

It also stated that developing economies maintained higher growth in the production of textiles, chemical products and fabricated metal products, while the growth performance of industrialized economies was higher in the pharmaceutical industry and in production of motor vehicles.
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How can South Africa drive youth innovation and entrepreneurship?

Nearly a third of South Africa’s population is under the age of 14. As things stand, their future is uncertain. The economy is stagnant, the political landscape is shifting, and unemployment is at a record high.

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It’s possible to turn all that around, but doing so means equipping young people with skills beyond those found in the schooling system creating an environment which doesn’t just see entrepreneurship and innovation as viable options, but as necessities.

There was the consensus of a panel on driving innovation among South Africa’s young people at a Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held at Cape Town’s Workshop 17 on Monday.

The panelists should know what they’re talking about too. CodeX‘s Elizabeth Gould, RLabs‘ Marlon Parker, nnfinity‘s Nwabisa Mayema, Code4CT‘s Emma Jane Dicks, and FixForward‘s Josh Cox have all dedicated themselves to using technology to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.

Doing what schools can’t

According to a number of the panelists, a large part of the reason they exist is because they’ve identified skills that are valuable to young people, but which aren’t taught in schools.

On one level, those are technological skills — Code4CT, RLabs, and CodeX all have major coding and development components within their programmes — but there are also a whole host of other skills that need to be taught before young people are able to either enter the job market or start their own businesses.

That’s especially true when the young people involved come from impoverished backgrounds with few role models for success.

“We need to think about the complexities in our communities,” says Parker. “It’s one thing to give someone a skill, it’s another thing entirely to help someone find their passion.”

While a very small number of people might be able to find that passion on their own, the reality is that without personal development and leadership skills even people who have serious digital skills will slip through the cracks.

“We couldn’t just give them the digital skill and hope everything will be okay,” Parker says.

RLabs’ Grow Leadership Academy. Founded in 2008, the academy has trained …. and has operations in 22 countries around the globe.

The fact that it’s managed to achieve that growth and have 95% of the academy’s staff made up of alumni shows how valuable that kind of all-round education is.

Investing in women

Using that kind of holistic approach to innovation and entrepreneurial development is, if anything, even more critical when it comes to epowering young women.

As Ventureburn’s 2015 Startup Survey showed, women still make up a much smaller fraction of the country’s technology entrepreneurs than men. It’s a situation which is changing slowly, but there needs to be a wholesale mind-shift if it’s going to get to where it needs to be.

Right now, says, Dicks, “women are self de-selecting out of tech roles.” In a reflection of what is a global phenomenon, many young women have spent so long being told that technology and entrepreneurship aren’t viable career paths for them that they don’t even consider it.

Code4CT aims to change that not only by teaching young women to code, but also by providing with female mentors willing to share their own entrepreneurial journeys.

“The lack of tangible role models plays a huge role in preventing young women from moving into the tech space,” says Dicks.

Failure and success

For many of those entrepreneurs, failure will have been an important part of the journey. But as the panel noted, there’s a low tolerance for failure in South Africa.

Big rewards in the entrepreneurial space require big risks, but if entrepreneurs are consumed with a crippling sense of failure, they’ll never find those rewards.

We need, in other words, to equip young people to be brave, not perfect.

The right conditions

But if that’s going to happen, we also need the right structures in place, both within government and the family.

If South Africa is to create a large pool of entrepreneurs, then the government needs to set up legislation which makes it as easy and cheap as possible to start a business.

Unfortunately that’s just not the case right now. “Setting up a business in South Africa is very difficult and very expensive,” says Gould.

Reducing that cost, could also prove a major boost to black entrepreneurs from less wealthy backgrounds. Those who make it through university face massive familial and societal pressures, make entrepreneurship much less enticing.

That experience is borne out by Mayema, who faced a fair amount of resistance when she told her family that she wanted to start a business straight out of university. As it the case with many young people, especially from the country’s impoverished rural areas, she was expected to use her university education to get a well-paid job in a respectable business with, in her words, “a nice car and business cards”.

It’s perfectly understandable: every parent wants the best for their children. And if they can make your life a little more comfortable at the same time, so much the better.

It’s a major stumbling block that needs to be overcome, but once it is, the opportunities are beyond measure.

The time is right

Despite all those challenges, the panelists all seem to think that there are massive opportunities to be found in growing young entrepreneurs. Technology is more affordable than ever, especially in the hardware space, where Parker believes opportunities abound.

As the social entrepreneur notes, there’s an already existing culture of hardware hacking in the townships. “People buy devices and ‘hack’ them to meet their needs”. The trick, he says, is to get them to see that other people have those needs too.

“Timing is everything,” says Parker. I think the world is now ready for hardware from the continent”

The rise of the gig economy could also prove useful in helping foster entrepreneurship in the country.

With the right platform, people can work the hours they want so they at least have some form of income while they build their business.

And that’s where something like Cox’s Fix Forward comes in. The platform provides vetted tradespeople with access to markets they wouldn’t otherwise have, thus saving them the hassle of trying to hustle for business, but also gives them entrepreneurial training, so that they can continue there growth.

So while the future doesn’t always look great for young people right now, with the right changes in place, that could change very quickly.
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Africa Must Deploy Adequate Technologies to Transform Agriculture From Subsistence

Agriculture development stakeholders from across the continent and beyond are convened in Kigali for the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week which runs from 13-16 June, 2016. The week is an occasion to discuss how agriculture science, technology and innovations can contribute towards accelerating the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

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Opening the discussions, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi pointed out that the forum should be an opportunity to discuss how science, technology and innovation can be used to speed-up transformation in the agriculture sector which currently employs 65% of Africa’s labour force and leads inclusive growth driver on the continent.

“To transform Agriculture from subsistence to market oriented in this era of climate change, Africa must deploy adequate technologies that add value across the agricultural value chain,” Premier Murekezi said.

The 7th FARA Science Week and Annual General Assembly brings about 1,000 agriculture development stakeholders from the continent and beyond, including scientists, international development partners, policy makers and investors.

The Forum offers an opportunity to learn from other countries’ achievements in agriculture development and share experiences.

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, the African Development Bank President, who also co-chairs the meeting, said that a more food secure Africa would reduce food imports and increase food exports to stabilise foreign exchanges and economy.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex continental organisation responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research-for-development. FARA serves as the technical arm of the African Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation. This event is organised every three years. The last edition was held in Accra, Ghana in July 2013.

This event has coincided with the weeklong 11th National Agriculture Show (Agrishow) underway at Mulindi show ground from 13-20 June 2016. Themed “Invest in Agricultural Innovations for Prosperity,” the exhibition showcases agricultural innovations from the continent and beyond.

Also happening is the Farmer to Farmer Extension, an international learning event co-organised by the Rwanda Agriculture Board and the Belgian Technical Cooperation.

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How the government is helping black businesses in SA

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says government’s incentives have helped to leverage R57 billion in investments over the past year.

The Minister said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Addressing members of Parliament after briefing the media earlier in the day, the Minister said the tax incentives amounting to R10 billion have resulted in long-term investments that have saved struggling factories.

“…Across the Department of Trade and Industry’s (Dti) main incentive schemes, R57.1 billion in private-sector investment is being leveraged as a result of the Dti having provided incentive support during the last financial year of approximately R10 billion.

“This support is provided to a wide range of local and domestic companies, one thousand seven hundred and seventy in the last financial year to be exact,” he said.

The Minister said he has visited many of these factories in the past year and he can report that these government contracts have created a mood of optimism on the shop floors and factories.

“Industries that appeared to have no future and where assets were being run-down prior to being sold for scrap have been revitalised and long-term investments – including in machinery, people and skills – are being made which augur well for these industries’ future,” he said.

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More focus on creating black industrialists

Minister Davies said due to a continued shortage of black industrialists, the department would focus on supporting qualifying black industrialists in the year ahead.

The Minister said it remained an impossible task to build an inclusive and stable society when some sectors and industries remain largely untransformed, and where established sectors are perceived as monopolising access to government resources.

“In the coming year, we will focus on supporting qualifying black industrialists through access to funding, incentives, soft loans, market access, procurement opportunities, training and capacity building, matchmaking and information sharing, research and innovation, assistance to meet quality standards, productivity enhancement support, and economic infrastructure.

“This support will be provided through collaboration with development finance institutions, state-owned companies, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the South African Bureau of Standards, along with other private and public institutions.

He said about 50 applications have already been received and are being considered by the department, covering sectors such as Agro-processing, Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Mineral beneficiating sectors, Oil & gas, Automotive, Rail, Clothing & Textiles, Green Energy, Capital Equipment, and ICT.

“We are grateful for the many messages of support we are receiving from the private-sector and – increasingly – firm offers to collaborate and partner with Government to make the Black Industrialist Programme a success,” he said.

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Localisation central to IPAP implementation

Meanwhile, the Minister said in a few weeks’ time, the department would release the 8th iteration of its Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) covering the period 2016/7-2018/9.

He said one of the important transversal policy levers identified in IPAP is local procurement.

“Thus far we have designated more than 16 sectors or products where public entities are required to procure from products produced in this country. These include rail rolling stock, work wear and uniforms, and furniture.

“The three latest designations came into force on 21 October 2015. These are conveyance pipes, transformers and steel sub-structures.

“I am happy to report that we are now beginning to see real impact of these commitments to local procurement in a number of industries,” he said.

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National success for J&B Recycling

A RECYCLING firm has been named as the UK leader in a global competition set up to recognise businesses which show continuous improvement.

The awards, which are run by Corporate LiveWire and are now in their 11th year, saw J&B Recycling named as Most Outstanding In Recycling Solutions in the Innovation & Excellence category.

From the development and incorporation of cutting edge technology to the creation of forward thinking strategies, the Innovation & Excellence Awards honour and celebrate those businesses and firms which are creating a brighter tomorrow.

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The Innovation & Excellence Awards give recognition to businesses that are transforming their respective industries and the standard-bearers of excellence by continually setting industry trends as well as showing significant advances in terms of innovation and improvement.

J&B Recycling has invested £6m into a state-of-the-art Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) which sorts and processes various waste streams at the highest quality, and also has also invested heavily in equipment for both its sites in Hartlepool and South Tees.

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director of J&B Recycling, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named as the winners of such a prestigious award.

“We have continued to grow year-on-year, both in terms of our turnover and the workforce, and throughout that time we have continued to invest in systems to ensure we stay ahead of the field and provide the best service we can to our customers.

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“To be named as a top performer in the UK is an honour for any business in any sector, and it is nice for everyone connected with J&B Recycling that our hard work is recognised in this way.“

As well as the UK awards, honours are also handed out to businesses from across the globe with categories covering the Americas, Asia & Australasia and Africa & The Middle East.

Jake Powers from Corporate LiveWire said: “Given the increased focus on sustainability and ecology in recent times, it has become even more imperative for companies to provide innovative solutions in waste collection, recovery and recycling.

“Our judges were satisfied that J&B Recycling tick all of these boxes and were particularly impressed by the seamless manner in which they operate.

“As a result, we are delighted to name them as the winner for the Most Outstanding in Recycling Solutions in our Innovation & Excellence Awards for 2016.“

Elizabeth Moore, Awards Director of the 2016 Innovation & Excellence Awards, said: “The Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence award winners have not only excelled within their respective sector but have also shown flexibility to adapt to industry changes.

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“We are extremely proud of every single one of our winners and we look forward to seeing how they will continue to demonstrate their commitment in the future.“

Votes were taken for the awards through the Corporate LiveWire website over the last 12 months, with the most successful applicants eventually put onto a shortlist.

From there, the judging panel considered the strengths of each candidate, setting its sights firmly on the most innovative, groundbreaking and client-focused firms, teams and individuals who have transformed the way in which they do business.

J&B Recycling recycles approximately 120,000 tonnes of waste each year from household, commercial, industrial and construction sources with customers including car parts manufacturer Nifco UK, Camerons Brewery and dozens of community buildings, pubs and restaurants.

The company’s strategy is to divert waste from landfill by increasing the levels and types of waste streams that can be recycled in a cost effective and sustainable manner through forward thinking and innovation.

J&B Recycling employs almost 200 staff across both sites in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

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Innovative project uses energy efficiency to help the unemployed

Residential energy is saved and vulnerable gain skills through behaviour change project.

With a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK coming from the residential sector, there’s a need to find new ways to help households reduce energy use. While some of this is related to building condition and type, much is related to the way people use energy. In the last two years we have been working to tackle this issue in Wiltshire homes, and meanwhile provide a social benefit.

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The project, Achieve, began life in Frankfurt five years ago to address the combined issues of high fuel costs and rising unemployment. In Germany if you’re unemployed the state covers your energy bills, so an idea was born to tackle both issues at once. Achieve trains and supports the unemployed to provide energy advice directly to vulnerable consumers – often their peers – in their homes, resulting in saved energy, changed behaviours and meanwhile helping people reintegrate into the job market.

At Severn Wye Energy Agency, an independent charity and not-for-profit that promotes sustainable energy, we spotted the potential and with European funding partnered with Wiltshire Council to run a series of training programmes. The programmes provide advice to residents struggling to pay energy bills and, meanwhile, the local unemployed to gain valuable new skills. To date we’ve trained seven advisers, helped more than 200 families and, as a consortium, reached over 1,700 homes in France, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Germany.

Gary Hardman of Trowbridge, who first became interested in Achieve through his local Job Centre Plus in the summer of 2012 has now undertaken more than 100 visits, and said: “I had never thought of working in this area, but I’m finding it really exciting and I have already found loads of ways to save in my own home.”

Achieve involves two free home visits. During the first, the trained advisers assess the home including bills and areas where energy is being wasted. This could include: the use of tungsten or halogen lighting, appliances routinely left on standby, or draughty doors and windows. The adviser then assesses which of a number of simple energy-saving devices may offer the greatest benefits for the household based on their current energy tariffs, and critically what this will mean for them in financial terms. On the second visit, the adviser installs the most appropriate devices and presents a report outlining their findings – including the time the original investment will take to be repaid to the household.

Key to the design of Achieve was that we did not want to rely completely on the ability of people to make long-term changes to their behaviour in order to make savings. Rather, we wanted to show people some small savings that they could make by installing simple devices. Through this, people are educated about the cost of specific appliances and will motivate others to go further with their own behaviour change.

One particular device that has proved successful in the savings reached and in its acceptance by clients is the retrofitting of halogen down lighters with LED equivalents. Having limited funding, we were usually only able to install one or two bulbs – an array typically has between three and five bulbs, and some households have more than 10 50-watt bulbs. This gave the client the opportunity to test the technology and to consider the return on further investment. During return visits we were pleasantly surprised to find a number of clients, despite their limited budget, had invested in further LEDs.

We also focused on highlighting the cost of appliances on standby, such as obsolete and unused video-players costing over £30 a year. While the savings are quite modest for individual modern appliances cumulatively they can soon add up. Where funding prevented us from installing a device, we were still able to translate the energy use into monetary terms for the resident, and it is this translation that we believe is key. Combined with educational material and remote support, we caught resident’s interest and have seen them take further energy-saving steps themselves.

In some cases the project has been able to go further and help households to access funding toward heating and insulation measures. One client in Melksham commented: “Top service. Thanks to your report, our housing association funded our switch from Economy 7 storage heaters to full gas central heating, making savings of about £45 a week.”

Climate change discussions and calls to reduce emissions will only go so far, and with so many people. But innovative projects like Achieve demonstrate how behaviour change can be achieved through tailored advice and a focus on the bottom line.

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Source: theguardian


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2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) are proud to invite applications for the 2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA).

The Call for Applications is open from 14 March 2016 until 29 April 2016. 

 We are inviting innovative start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises focused on commercialisation of local cutting-edge and innovative clean technology solutions related to energy efficiency, green buildings, renewable energy, waste beneficiation and water efficiency.

Click here to download the GCIP Programme for SME’s and Start-ups (GCIP) in South Africa

Further information about the 2016 GCIP program is available at

Source: GCIP SA