This year’s Sustainability Week is set to accelerate the total number of sustainability projects, under the theme ‘Get ready to put ideas in motion.’ Thought leaders, policy makers, practitioners and producers within the country and beyond will share their knowledge at Sustainability Week, hosted by alive2green from 23 to 28 June 2015 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria – undoubtedly a highlight in the annual environmental calendar.
This year’s Sustainability Week programme boasts an impressive 14 seminars which offer excellent opportunities for various stakeholders to share ideas to ultimately improve environmental and economic performance. An exciting addition to the programme, African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, hosted by the City of Tshwane, will seek to lay the foundation for African cooperation at city level and urban scale. In addition to the extended Green Building and Sustainable Energy programmes, three new seminars on Mining, Manufacturing and Infrastructure have been introduced.
African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum
The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum will explore various opportunities to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges African cities face on a daily basis. African cities can reach high levels of quality urban life when supported by appropriate policies, design ingenuity, innovation, technical proficiency, robust implementation mechanisms and adequate infrastructural investments. This will ultimately improve their environmental footprints while reaching highly competitive economic prosperity in the medium to long term. Ensuring that the most rapidly developing cities in the world develop sustainably is arguably the most important objective on the planet.
Green Building Conference
Green Buildings is rapidly becoming the norm for new large building projects. New design strategies, building materials and approaches are contributing to an ever more innovative and rapidly changing environment. This year’s ninth annual Green Building Conference will share the latest thinking, perspectives, case studies and projects as they unfold. Professor Barbara Norman, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra and Tomohiko Amemiya who worked on the award winning Slum Housing Project, Megacity Skeleton in Jakarta are among the international built environment experts that will share knowledge at this conference.
Water Resource Seminar
Water scarcity is a reality in South Africa and will become ever more apparent as climate change intensifies. Demand and supply-side management are two key strategies in protecting against absolute scarcity. Water efficiency is vital to the sustainability of our water resource on the demand side. On the supply side, it is imperative that issues such as pollution, land-use management, groundwater management, ecological infrastructure and acid mine drainage management are considered. Leading experts will present the latest technologies and best practice at this informative seminar.
Vision Zero Waste Seminar
South Africa is experiencing a waste explosion with landfills overflowing and production and disposal not slowing down. The Vision Zero Waste Seminar will see leading industry, government and related NGO executives, as well as fringe stakeholders, such as the Pickers, report back on actions and initiatives. The session will grapple with strategies and best practice required to achieve a stepped-up level of recycling in the country, with a dual focus on separation at source and profitability for businesses.
Sustainable Energy Seminar
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are converging fast into one bold new field – smart energy. This seminar will explore the idea that every effort should be made to redesign and reconfigure processes to be more energy efficient and reduce peak demand.
Green Business Seminar
Market forces are such a powerful driver of ingenuity and innovation that they have created the modern world with all its wonders, and all its terrors. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater degree to drive South Africa towards a green economy? This is the key question the Green Business Seminar will seek to answer.
Transport and Mobility Seminar
Mobility is a human right, but for most urban-based Africans movement across our cities has become an economic inhibitor. Poor urban planning and rapid urbanisation has resulted in massive pressure on ailing infrastructure.
Transport is a high impact sector, with tail pipe emissions accounting for a high percentage of national GHG emissions per country. The transport sector needs constant maintenance, upgrading, and rolling out of new roads, which ultimately affects communities and the biosphere in profound ways. A key strategy to reduce these impacts is to invest in rail infrastructure and to create the economic conditions to entice appropriate freight to move from truck to rail. Transport networks can also have significant economic benefits. Projects to connect African countries can pave the way for much greater Africa-to-Africa trade, bolstering African industries and creating employment. Regional and international experts will present thought-provoking projects that are leading the change in respect of these considerations.
Food Security Seminar
Political instability, uneven access to resources and funding, poverty, skills shortages, a lack of interest in farming among young rural people, and a changing climate are just some of the complex factors that perpetuate food insecurity among Africans. This seminar invites thought leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture and related industries, to share the latest thinking and examples of best practice, presenting the changing face of African agriculture. Discussions will contribute to the formulation of consensus on the best course for African countries.
Sustainability in Mining Seminar
Mining is South Africa’s most important sector, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. Mining IQ mentions that the mining industry contributes an average of 20% to South Africa’s GDP and boasts a total annual income exceeding R330 billion. Mining and all extractive industries have a heavy impact on communities and the environment, but not all mines are planned, run, and decommissioned in the same manner. This new seminar will bring mining executives and other stakeholders together to share knowledge and best practice approaches to energy and water use, waste generation and reclamation, effluent creation and treatment, transport and social issues. Don’t miss this ground breaking addition to Sustainability Week.
Green Manufacturing and Supply Chain Seminar
Localisation of inputs is critically important for the ongoing development of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. Companies will compare experiences and best practice in finding ways to localise manufacturing along the supply chain, seek out energy, water and waste efficiencies, protect communities and the environment, and compete locally and internationally. This session will invite companies that have chosen this approach and are benefitting commercially as a direct result.
Sustainable Infrastructure Seminar
A sustainable society and economy must rely on infrastructure that supports it. Reducing the environmental impact of the built environment can be advanced through the design, construction and operation of green buildings, but the fundamental key to achieving this is a matter of infrastructure. Similarly, reducing tail pipe emissions in the transport sector can be advanced through fuel efficient logistics and vehicles, but again this is a matter of infrastructure. The same goes for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing demand through efficiency, but the fundamental key to achieving this objective is to ramp up the percentage of renewable generation in the grid, which is a matter of infrastructure.
Other items on the Sustainability Week programme include a Responsible Tourism Dialogue, a panel discussion for Youth and the Green Economy as well as a Green Home Fair with an organic market and household products for green living, scheduled to take place at Brooklyn Mall.
Sustainability Week takes place at the CSIR ICC from 23 to 28 June 2015. For more information on Sustainability Week, visit www.sustainabilityweek.co.za