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The Green Building Council South Africa & Sun International mark the first Net Zero Waste rating in Africa

February 25, 2019

As part of its commitment to doing its best to inspire the property industry to design, build, and operate better, greener buildings the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) jointly with Sun International are proud to introduce the property sector to Africa’s first Net Zero Waste rating.

The certification of Sun International’s Wild Coast Sun is another seal that marks their sustainability journey which sends a clear message to the property sector about transformation through the advancement of green building. Manfred Braune, Green Building Council South Africa’s Managing Executive: Sector Development & Transformation said, ‘Sun International achieved their Net Zero Waste (Pilot) certification in January 2019 and is the first on the continent to receive this rating from the GBCSA. We are delighted that the growth and innovation coming out of the property sector through initiatives like the Wild Coast Sun Net Zero Waste certification proves to the rest of the world that we can indeed put sustainability and environmental issues at the heart of how we design, build, and operate better, greener buildings and precincts – congratulations to Sun International for demonstrating great environmental leadership,’

As part of their sustainability journey, Sun International has embarked on an aggressive Zero-Waste-to-Landfill initiative to be achieved by the end of 2020 at all their South African Units. Wild Coast Sun is the first unit within the group to achieve this target. Jennifer van Niekerk of GCX, the accredited professional who conducted the Net Zero Certification explained, ‘The Wild Coast Sun’s waste management strategy includes the composting of organic waste onsite, recycling of recyclables by means of approved recyclers, donation and resale of reusable items and the manufacturing of bricks from non-valuable non-recyclable waste.’

Brick manufacturing and recycling is conducted offsite with the assistance of a waste contractor, however extensive measures have been put in place to reduce, reuse, separate and treat 70% of the waste produced on site.

‘As a responsible company, we believe it is our obligation to continually strive to minimise our environmental footprint, and to do so in a responsible and proactive manner.  Our zero waste to landfill project is just one of many initiatives we are implementing.  The triple benefit of reducing and converting waste into a useful resource is that we achieve our commitment to be environmental responsible, we support the local economy through job creation, and we minimise the impact on our bottom line. I call that a win-win-win situation,’ added Head of Sustainability at Sun International Jannette Horn

As an integral step in the success of their zero waste to landfill solution, WCS have placed significant emphasis on the separation of organic waste at source in all their own kitchens. They have supported, trained and helped develop a full time enterprise to remove organic waste from the kitchens and sort the waste to remove all contaminants by hand. Another enterprise, also trained and assisted by WCS, then composts the organic waste and uses it in an onsite vegetable garden, the produce from which is sold back to WCS for use in the kitchens’. As additional requirement of the certification, WCS were required to meet the following criteria: implement onsite waste recycling, conduct regular waste stream audits of ongoing consumables and have an updated operational waste and materials management plan.

‘Through their waste management projects, Wild Coast Sun have derived value from their waste, created jobs and sustainable businesses and reduced the risks posed to their operation by reliance on landfill. The team at Wild Coast Sun have demonstrated that Zero Waste to Landfill is a possibility even for organisations as remote, large and complex as theirs. They are truly deserving of this certification,’ noted van Niekerk.

‘Waste should no longer be seen as something to be disposed and as a cost – it should be seen as a resource. Landfill sites are filling up, and we must prepare for a complete shift in thinking around waste. It is a no brainer that green building, including waste minimization and reuse, is no longer a lofty ideal on the continent and the rest of the world, we can now see the tangible benefits that are tied to sustainability from an African context and the fact that within a few years the South African industry anticipates that we will have a much higher level of green building activity is pleasing,’ adds Braune.

The demand for green buildings is growing rapidly, as property developers and property owners become more aware of their environmental footprint and the cost benefits of building green and tenants become increasingly demanding in seeking out energy effective and more productive spaces.

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