by Charity Dakamela

Better city environments

South African cities managing carbon emissions

City of Tshwane actively supports the move to alternative and renewable energy
Tshwane skyline.jpg

Social innovations are public service projects that solve public problems in creative ways. The creation of healthy cities involves creating and promoting sustainable practices that are environmentally friendly. In South Africa, as is the case globally, carbon emissions mitigation is a priority for every department.

As global understanding of climate change and the associated risks continues to develop and the scramble for an international agreement continues beyond Copenhagen, investors are increasingly demanding more advanced corporate disclosure on sustainability.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which was founded as an independent not-for-profit organisation, on behalf of hundreds of institutional investors with volumes of assets under management, annually seeks information on the business risks and opportunities presented by climate change as well as greenhouse gas emissions data from the world’s largest companies (from 3 000 in 2008, to over 4 500 in 2011).

The CDP is a global initiative encouraging big business to report their carbon footprint and water usage and the steps that they are taking to reduce it. It was introduced to South Africa in 2007 and has recently been extended to cities.

Cape Town mayoral committee member for health, Councillor Lungiswa James, says that there are a number of business benefits to calculating your carbon emissions. “The main benefits would include identifying emissions sources, which can then reveal reduction opportunities. Reducing emissions often leads to reduced costs, which is important in the tough economic times we find ourselves in. It is also important to understand your carbon profile and hence your risk exposure when emissions taxation and/or emissions caps are introduced.”

He believes there are intangible benefits to green business as well. “Improved staff morale and marketing and public relations benefits are but a few,” he says, although companies will only demonstrate a real commitment to environmental awareness once they see the improvements thereof reflected in their bottom line.

The City of Tshwane actively supports the move to alternative and renewable energy as a way of mitigating carbon emissions. The goal is to significantly reduce the impact of conventional energy generation on the environment.

A number of alternative and renewable energy programmes within the key industry clusters that drive Tshwane’s economy have been identified.

This is in line with the City’s vision to create jobs, lower carbon emissions and reduce the consumption of coal-generated electricity and, ultimately, create a healthy and cleaner city.

The cleaner development mechanism desk in the Tshwane Department of Agriculture and Environmental Management was established to co-ordinate all activities relating to green and clean economic development in the city. The aim of the desk is to ensure all future investments comply with the greening methodology of the city.

The following projects present opportunities for partnerships in Tshwane’s green developments:

Tshwane is committed to an integrated approach to waste management. With the Waste-to-Energy Park, the city aims to clean and convert landfill gas into electricity.

The City of Tshwane owns and runs coal-fired power stations in Pretoria West and Rooiwal. The technology used at both these stations is close to obsolete and must be upgraded. The two stations can be used for an energy efficiency and carbon reduction model. This will enable the city to produce its own electricity as an independent power producer.

The Zeekoegat wastewater treatment works, which is interlinked with the Rooiwal wastewater treatment works, is currently treating sewage at full capacity. Additional treatment capacity is urgently needed. A process is underway for the city to establish a 20-megawatt solar power station. The electricity generated will be fed directly into the grid, resulting in very low transmission loss.

Creation of healthy cities not only yields benefits for the community by way of improved service delivery and job creation, but also to businesses and SMMEs. All this makes business sense.


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Issue 16


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