Where green ideas meet

Business award Runner-up: Cape Town International Convention Centre

Environmental responsibility drives the Cape Town International Convention Centre’s business model with its internal green attitude that affects external business relations.

Chief executive Rashid Toefy says sustainability “informs every aspect of business” at the bustling multi-storey centre in Cape Town’s central business district.

“Green consciousness” is encouraged among staff members by the internal Nurture our World, or Now, team, launched in 2008. The team is made up of representatives of each of the divisions of the organisation, as well as key partner service providers. We aim to achieve and maintain excellence in environmental responsibility in all facets of our business.”

The team has established supplier accreditation policies with which local business providers should be aligned. The centre awarded tenders worth more than R53-million to small businesses in the past financial year. Eco-friendly procurement was essential in awarding these tenders, and Now accreditation was awarded only to suppliers that met stringent sustainability criteria set out by the centre. “The centre is committed to using service providers with business principles aligned to its sustainable objectives. By engaging with suppliers and through service-level agreements we are able to request locally sourced goods and services, which supports the local economy,” said Toefy.

Cleaning operations are outsourced to suppliers that implement energy efficiency, save water and minimise waste, for instance. “With our cleaning and laundry services we use suppliers who subscribe to green principles and ensure that eco friendly products are used. The centre’s tender criteria for the provision of products and services include stringent sustainability goals and targets,” said Toefy.

Water consumption has been reduced through dual flush systems in all toilets, waterless urinals and retrofitted taps with proximity sensors. The centre plans to invest in rainwater-harvesting tanks and the installation of a water recycling system. Energy-saving measures include retrofitting the centre with energy-efficient bulbs, fitting the escalators with sensors that ensure they only work when delegates step on to them, light sensors in the meeting suites and advanced central monitoring systems that minimises the unnecessary use of air-conditioning systems.

As a result of these progressive measures, the centre was the first convention centre in Africa and the second in the world to obtain three management system certifications simultaneously. It was also the first in the world to align its reporting strategies to the Global Reporting Initiative.

The Greening judges praised the centre and its management for “pushing the boundaries where most people would not be bothered to look”. It was streets ahead in meeting its sustainability targets and had linked these to its business offering, they said.

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