Looking back at 2012

I always find it good to reflect on the year that passed, to see what we managed to achieve and where we heading to next year.  After spending some time with the icologie team in 2010 and 2011, I returned back to Steadfast Greening at the start of 2012.  It has really been great being able to get stuck into the projects I enjoy, getting my hands dirty and really needing to apply my mind strategically.

The year started off with a fair amount of energy efficiency related work at schools, including the hosting of Q&A after Nicholas Ellenbogen did Raiders of the Black-out play which was loads of fun! We did an energy audit for Grove Primary to determine an energy baseline and retrofit plan for rolling out at schools in Cape Town.  We provided input into the schools environmental drama festival hosted annually by the City of Cape Town and this year the topic was ‘resilience’.

The Blue Flag Marina Programme finally took shape this year when WESSA awarded the first marina’s with their Blue Flags in South Africa.  We have been working with the various marina’s in Cape Town and along the West Coast and was pleased to see them finally get their Blue Flags.  The project included eco auditing, training and support to the staff with the implementation of their environmental management plans.

We are still very involved with the Event Greening Forum, co-ordinating the southern team, as well as participating at board level.  This has also grown over the last few years and the establishment of a non-profit organisation has helped to define its role in the industry.  The southern team hosted a very successful networking event linked to the Green Expo in November in Cape Town, with more events planed for next year.   The EGF will also host their first half-day conference in February 2012 in Gauteng.

We hosted a number of event greening training sessions in Cape Town and also in Port Elizabeth, as well as guest lecturing at local tertiary institutions and various conference presentations. It is great to see how event greening is growing within the industry and more people are implementing green events.

It was the fourth year that we did the eco audit for Rocking the Daisies. They were sold out with record numbers and hosted an amazing event, which we are submitting for the Greener Festival Awards in the UK.  As always, they have done a great job with their event greening and we are pleased to be associated with them. Rock on!

The Green Expo was held for the second year and was again a great success.  We did their eco audit and sponsored their renewable energy as our contribution to the green industry.  They won the EXSA Green Expo Award for 2012 and had even more exhibitors and activities compared to their first year and gave away a house valued at over a million rand.

We did the eco audit report for Meetings Africa 2012, and are currently busy preparing for Meetings Africa 2013 in February, working closely with the National Convention Bureau and the organisers Scan on Show.  It is important that key role players such as South African Tourism actively promote event greening.

One of the highlights of the year was the Sustain our Africa Summit where we worked closely with Deon and Brendon on the implementation of the programme.  They managed to pull together some amazing speakers and this was captured expertly in the Change Agent publication.  The event was an amazing success, hosted in partnership with a range of sponsors and organisations dedicated to promoting a greener future.  My personal highlight was getting to know Jeunesse Park from Food and Trees for Africa.

During the last year we worked close with the green teams from Santam, Spur and the CTICC providing them with support in various ways.  It has been very rewarding to see projects implemented, sustainability reports developed and the benefits of the staff training. We also assisted with the first sustainability report for CapeSpan.

We worked with the City of Cape Town on the Sybrand Park Environmental Festival which focussed on the Two Rivers Urban Park, and started with a waste project at schools in Hannover Park.  Towards the end of the year we did some Blue Flag Beach training for the staff working at the beaches, with some additional training for the beach managers in the new year.  In the new year we will be doing energy efficiency training for City staff as part of the City’s Energy Savings Campaign.  We have also teamed up with Jeffares & Green on a project to review the City’s stock items in line with their Green Procurement strategy.

We have also finally managed to complete the Smart Office Handbook, which builds on the Smart Living Handbook for the home and the Smart Events Handbook.  This latest edition published by the City of Cape Town focuses on the office environment with practical advice on what to do, as well as various downloads such as training material, guidance on how to compile your own environmental policy and case studies.  This handbook was kindly sponsored by Pick ‘n Pay, Santam, NewClicks and Eskom, and the design was done by the team from Derrick.

It has been nice exploring opportunities and ideas with other sustainability practitioners such as Carbon Calculated, GCX, Educo Africa, Meshfield, as well as other teams that aim to promote sustainability such as Sustain our Africa and Derrick Advertising.  The Sustainability Breakfasts hosted quarterly by Accelerate Cape Town and KPMG are always a great opportunity for networking and we hope to build on the relationship with the National Business Institute in the year ahead.

I even had the opportunity to do some travelling to Italy for a friends wedding, and spent some time in Sardinia soaking up the sun and looking at their Blue Flag Marina’s.  On my way back I visited Istanbul, which is definitely on my list of things to do.

The year ahead is looking good and I am feeling positive.  There are so many exciting projects to get involved with, passionate people to connect with and new things to learn.    I look forward to an exciting year ahead and wish you all the best for 2013.

Grace Stead