L2D’s retail portfolio achieves Net Zero Waste certification, a first in SA’s property sector

Sandton City

Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) has achieved a Level 2 Net Zero Waste status and subsequent certification by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for several of its retail assets, namely Sandton City, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Midlands Mall, and Liberty Promenade – the first retail portfolio in South Africa to achieve this.

According to the GBCSA, Net Zero Waste Level 2 is achieved when through measured data, it is demonstrated that a 90% diversion from landfill of all operational waste is achieved over twelve consecutive months. L2D achieved an impressive 90% diversion rate over the full duration of 2023 as an average of the nominated retail outlets.

This is an extraordinary achievement for L2D, aligning with our broader strategic objectives and contributing to our commitment to sustainable practices. Responsible business is at the heart of our purpose, we aim to champion sustainable environments to benefit generations. We remain bold in our commitments to achieve sustainability and reduce our environmental footprint, which has positioned our portfolio as an environmental leader in the industry,” comments L2D Chief Executive, Amelia Beattie.

L2D’s commitment to achieve Net Zero Waste readiness by 2023 saw it make concerted efforts to its waste management initiatives which have led to this achievement including the minimisation of the use of problematic plastics within L2D retail malls, while fostering meaningful behavioural change among tenants and customers through its #BeTheChange campaign.

At its superregional mall, Sandton City, L2D has reverse vending machines (RVMs), which are an interactive and educational solution that allows customers to actively contribute to recycling and waste diversion from landfills, while being incentivised with vouchers that can be spent within the shopping centre when they deposit recyclable packaging waste.

Furthermore, L2D also became the first landlord to join the SA Plastics Pact, which seeks to drive a circular economy for plastics.

The objective of Net Zero Waste is to reward building owners who actively seek to reduce waste generated throughout the life cycle of a building and set ambitious waste targets, aligning those pathways with global best practice. L2D has been intentional since inception in setting bold targets and driving their agenda towards their Net Zero journey. Showing environmental leadership, L2D’s achievement of Net Zero Waste is clear that sustainability should not be seen as aspirational but achievable through the implementation of clear and consistent approach that provides a strong framework and direction for waste management and resource recovery policies at all levels,” comments GBCSA CEO Lisa Reynolds.

This is a significant industry from the GBCSA’s perspective – these are the first buildings to achieve net zero waste since this tool was piloted in 2017. Additionally, these buildings demonstrate a net zero status at scale and in a retail environment, which is a considerable achievement when one considers the level of control a landlord has over shoppers and tenants waste habits,” she adds.

L2D’s Sustainability Lead Specialist, Brian Unsted comments says this achievement underscores our dedication to sustainable waste management practices. “This achievement is attributable to a collective effort from our property management team, waste management partners and through tenant’s support and co-operation. Driving diversion rates from landfill is achievable through recycling initiatives and optimising composting opportunities.”  

In achieving its Net Zero Waste status, L2D took a collective approach of working with strategic partners as a vital component to achieving its targets. This has also enabled L2D to continue to innovate, advance new frontiers of environmental leadership and maintain agility for the transitions required ahead. L2D partnered with WastePlan to maximise waste reduction, promote recycling, and to comply with robust waste management legislation while delivering reliable and innovative solutions. L2D had also appointed an independent consulting company, Solid Green to assist with the GBCSA Net Zero Waste submission.

Solid Green and Sow and Reap guided L2D on the GBCSA Net Zero Waste certification submission process.

It was a great experience to work with a committed client and a waste contractor that is meticulously tracking the vast volume of waste generated at the different malls. Net Zero Waste is a massive achievement in a retail environment with huge quantities and a large diversity of waste types. We look forward to work together to further optimise the waste streams at the retail properties in the years to come,” comments Marloes Reinink Director of Solid Green Consulting.