Redefine and Abland secure EcoDistricts certification for S&J Industrial Estate in Germiston

The S&J Industrial Estate in Germiston has become the first project outside of North America, and the first in Africa, to secure an EcoDistricts™ Certified endorsement, an initiative that advocates for the collaborative, holistic, neighbourhood-scale approach to community design.

The EcoDistricts approach is regarded as a new model of public-private partnership that emphasizes innovation and deployment of district-scale best practices to create neighbourhoods of the future which are resilient, vibrant, resource efficient and just. These include impact creation through, amongst others, resource regeneration, health and well-being and economic prosperity. 

What really stands out is that the certification was also the quickest, from registration to certification yet, and so it shows that our commitment to entrenching ESG in everything we do is bearing fruit”, says Anelisa Keke, chief sustainability officer for Redefine. 

To be part of the team that has taken land that forms part of the undeveloped mining belt in Johannesburg and convert this to an industrial estate which has now been recognised as an EcoDistrict initiative is extremely exciting and a great achievement to all involved.  This aligns with Abland’s drive toward sustainability which is evidenced by various commercial projects which have international green star ratings”, says Chris Roberg, Director of Abland responsible for S&J Industrial Development. 

The S&J Industrial Estate forms part of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), the largest metropolitan municipality in Gauteng, and the sprawling estate spans an impressive 210ha. It caters for predominantly industrial use and a commercial offering in the area. The City of Johannesburg is also a part of the international C40 Cities initiative, which includes driving meaningful, measurable, and sustainable action on climate change.  

Last year, Redefine Properties and Abland Property Developers, under the guidance of Solid Green, established the S&J Industrial Estate EcoDistricts Steering Committee (SJEDSC) with the intention to create the initial framework to progress towards a model rooted in community sustainability, ecological awareness, and conservation.  

Adrie Fourie, Head of Solid Green’s Department of Sustainable Cities & Research, comments, “The EcoDistricts Protocol recognises that every community has the ability and need to advance a place-based sustainability agenda. It is designed as a flexible performance framework rather than a prescriptive standard. District teams can tailor the Protocol to local circumstances, set performance targets based on local conditions and aspirations, and measure progress against the Protocol’s imperatives and priorities”. 

The successful conclusion of the certification component is an exciting start to the long-term journey for this project. It also showcases what can be achieved in the SA property sector in securing a future we can all be proud of”, says Johann Nell, industrial asset manager at Redefine. 

The future reporting requirements are stringent. The project will be required to submit biennial progress reports beginning on the second anniversary of certification and continuing every two years thereafter. A comprehensive lens will be placed on every urban regeneration decision, driving the delivery of meaningful performance outcomes, and setting the conditions for sustainable, collective impact. 

Our purpose is to create and manage spaces in a way that changes lives, and we are therefore entrenching ESG into everything we do. This requires an integrated approach to making strategic choices that will sustain value creation for all stakeholders through focusing on what matters most. The EcoDistricts success is a crucial steppingstone and endorsement of the progress we are making to ensure a better future for all South Africans”, concludes Keke.