South African manufacturers have made a compelling business case for energy efficiency by cutting R1.1 billion in energy costs, reducing consumption by 1 340 GWh and mitigating 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Now the driver of these significant savings is turning its attention to the growing issue of waste, and water, the next big challenge for industry.

Improving resource efficiency

NCPC-SA’s Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project was launched in 2010 and the savings have been achieved in around 100 plants countrywide.

“Resource efficiency is a significant challenge for industry, particularly with rising energy costs and emerging water challenges,” said Ndivhuho Raphulu, director of the National Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa.

He and his team from NCPC-SA, a Department of Trade and Industry (dti) programme, stimulate efficiency in South African manufacturing sectors to improve industry competitiveness.

With more than 63 000 companies operating in SA’s industrial sector, and manufacturing contributing roughly R583 billion to GDP, maintaining a global competitive edge in production is vital to economic security.

“The financial loss from water shortages reported by more than 70% of JSE-listed companies illustrates the need for industrial efficiencies on a large scale across the country,” said Raphulu.

NCPC-SA is working with the National Waste Roadmap and international water footprinting experts to bring our energy learnings to waste and water efficiency programmes.

Green industry efficiency

“Cheap energy led to the development of energy intensive sectors in South Africa,” said Gerhard Fourie, chief director of Green Industries at the dti. “Now we need to make efficient technology mainstream to maintain our companies’ competitiveness.”

“Positioning SA as a pioneer in the supply of cutting-edge green goods and services could lead to better job creation, higher output and export growth,” added Raphulu.

Manufacturing Indaba

The NCPC-SA hosts its bi-annual Industrial Efficiency Conference on July 21 – 22, at the ICC in Durban, in conjunction with the KZN Manufacturing Indaba. Highlights include:

  • Dr Valerie Naidoo from the Water Research Commission, on re-imagining water perceptions in order to address SA’s water challenges
  • The IEE Project savings, success stories, and practical advice for business of any size looking to implement energy savings programmes
  • Dr Linda Godfrey, CSIR, will present the National Waste Roadmap, which maps out the steps to stimulating waste innovation, and research and development in South Africa
  • Global water footprinting expert Dr Nydia Suppen will explore water management in the industry supply chain
  • An Industrial Symbiosis workshop outlining the opportunities for waste minimisation through symbiosis in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape

National and regional NCPC-SA management, energy efficiency experts, businesses from the IEE programme, as well as global partners of the NCPC-SA will be present at the conference.

The departments of trade and industry, water and sanitation, and environmental affairs will also contribute to various panels and discussions.

The conference is open to industry professionals, stakeholders and the media.