The National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) concluded its 4th biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference, bringing together representatives from industry, government, international partners such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and senior representatives from NCPCs in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The two-day conference focused on empowering businesses and policy makers to adopt and support a cleaner, more efficient model of doing business, while addressing the planet’s dire environmental and socio-economic challenges.
Ndivhuho Raphulu, NCPC-SA Director, emphasised that the collaboration between public and private sectors locally and internationally to address issues of industrial efficiency is critical. “In addition, a big focus of our mandate is growing the pool of experts on the continent. Our training programme has grown to the extent where our experts are sought after to train delegates worldwide.”
Chief Director for Green Industries at the Department of Trade and Industry, Gerhard Fourie, reflected on the humble beginnings of the NCPC-SA in 2002 when issues of environmental sustainability and especially the business case for such were very new. “The NCPC-SA had the foresight to start the discussions to mainstream environmental sustainability and responsibility into boardroom discussions. We are thankful for the vision, knowledge and expertise that have seen the centre take a leading role in establishing these concepts across the continent.”
The NCPC-SA has done more than that, though. As part of the session on Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE), the flagship IEE Project reported that between 2010 and 2019, savings by companies that participated in the NCPC-SA’s energy efficiency programmes amounted to 5 700 GWh of energy and 5.6 million tonnes of CO2e mitigated – translating into a saving of R4.6 billion. The latter is the equivalent of supplying 790 000 middle income houses in South Africa with electricity for 12 months.
Energy efficiency is the biggest mechanism to reduce the burden of carbon tax on industry. It will also remain the basis for any carbon-mitigating strategy, said UNIDO’s Gerswynn Mckuur.
Other sessions included green chemistry, the circular economy, industrial water efficiency, the foundries sector, and green finance.
Julie Wells, NCPC-SA’s Communication and Marketing Manager, said, “This conference was particularly content-rich with excellent participation and dialogue by delegates. Our work is far from done, however, and there is much more room around the table for companies and other partners to join the discussion, and reap the benefits of implementing proven resource efficiency and cleaner production methodologies. We will make the information shared during the sessions available on our conference website and welcome requests for assistance.”
Click here for Industrial Efficiency 2019 Conference Programme and Presentations