Industrial Resource Efficiency Conference gets industry talking on green issues

The NCPC-SA Industrial Resource Efficiency Conference was a great success and showed that the local manufacturing industry is eager to educate itself on how energy, water, materials and other resource efficiencies can add to competitiveness, sustainability and profitability.

The two-day conference was held at Emperor’s Palace in Gauteng in March and was attended by some 300 delegates from industry, academia and government. The conference was organised to mark “ten years of resource efficiency and cleaner production” as the NCPC-SA ended off its tenth year, and some of the speakers took a retrospective look at what impact has been made in those ten years.

“We are proud to have unlocked potential savings of around R175 million through our RECP activities in the last ten years,” said Ndivhuho Raphulu, Director of the NCPC SA.

The keynote and opening address of the conference was given by Mr Clem Sunter, business leader and vocal spokesperson on the future of the SA economy. He lauded the efforts of the NCPC-SA and spoke about the possible scenarios that face South Africa in the next ten years. His message: sustainability has to be a focus in order for South Africa to remain competitive.

Competitiveness occupied a large part of the dialogue at the conference and presentations demonstrated the effectiveness of RECP principles in a declining South African manufacturing economy. Global trends are showing that opportunities exist for businesses and countries that formalise these principles.

Good news for industry is that progressive government policies are providing a platform from which key sectors can be positioned for global competitiveness. These issues were brought to light on day two through the keynote address by Mr Gerhard Fourie, Chief Director: Green Industries at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). He touched on governments plans, including finance models, to assist industry to become more competitive, as well as its efforts in moving towards a greener economy.

“South Africa will require a number of incentives over a period of time to move industries away from energy intensive, carbon intensive industries to less energy and carbon intensive labour absorbing industries,” said Mr Fourie.

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