Supplying answers to the questions

The demand for electricity and water — two resources essential for a growing world — is expected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.

But what can we do in our country, companies, communities and homes to better use and manage these ever scarce resources?

These and other questions about sustainability were discussed recently at a stakeholder engagement session at ABB South Africa’s head office in Johannesburg.

These debates have been held voluntarily by the power and automation technology leader during the past four years to engage stakeholders on key issues such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and skills development.

A clear call has been made by stakeholders, including customers, employee representatives, suppliers, universities, municipalities and business and community-based organisations, for technology companies such as ABB to assist in creating more awareness about the technology available for the efficient use and conservation of energy and water.

Carlos Pone, the ABB South Africa chief executive officer, said that the ABB Group increased investment in research and development by 7% in 2008 and a further 5% in 2009, despite the recession. A major part of the investment went on energy-efficient technologies.

He said with the increasing electricity demand and the pressure of carbon emissions on the environment, energy efficiency was vital. It was also important to develop skills in the industry with customers, suppliers and tertiary institutions, Pone said.

“We are developing engineers as well as artisans. We need to make artisan professions more attractive for young people.”

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