As part of the East London Industrial Development Zone SOC Ltd (ELIDZ) programmatic approach to finding innovative ways of reducing our carbon footprint whilst maintaining a high rate of production, there is also a conscious effort to minimise our environmental impact.

The ELIDZ recently conducted an Eco-Industrial Park (EIP) assessment. This study conducted in collaboration with Sofies Sustainability Leaders Pvt. Ltd and the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA), released a report which revealed that the organisation ranks as the top, most advanced and eco-friendly Zone amongst establishments of a similar nature studied across the globe.

The assessment follows a 2018 greenhouse gas emissions inventory which was conducted in collaboration with NCPC-SA and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

According to the ELIDZ Sector Manager: Renewable Energy, Chris Ettmayr, the exercise was necessitated by the zone’s obligation to sustainable environmental practices combined with a need to ensure that the IDZ remains suitable for light industries.

“The ELIDZ has been striving to measure and monitor its environmental impact from its own operations as well as those of its investors and tenants. As such, sustainable growth can only be achieved in conjunction with minimising the impact on the environment. The ELIDZ has therefore been monitoring its carbon emissions, water use and a number of other environmental as well as social impacts. It is important to monitor this over time as well, to ensure that a baseline is available and projects to mitigate any negative impacts can be implemented and measured.”

The reports key areas of assessment included the organisation’s environmental, economic and social performance.

Furthermore, Ettmayr added that the assessment is an important benchmark for the ELIDZ as it will show neighbouring communities and potential investors that the company is environmentally conscious. “The ELIDZ’s mandate is to grow the economy, but not at the peril of people and nature. With the ELIDZ ranking number one amongst the global parks already audited, it also sets the IDZ apart from other zones of similar nature and it acts as a leader for others to emulate.”

Meanwhile the report states that the ELIDZ continues to perform favourably when pitted against large proportions of the benchmarks in the International EIP Framework. 42 out of the 51 international benchmarks were fully met by the ELIDZ (82% of the total benchmarks).

“Seven benchmarks were not met and the performance against two benchmarks will be confirmed through additional data validation. With current and upcoming initiatives, the ELIDZ intends to reach a performance of 88% of the international benchmarks. These results position the ELIDZ as a leading industrial zone in South Africa transforming into an internationally recognized eco-industrial park.”

Ettmayr explained that this achievement bodes well for the Zone’s marketing efforts as both existing and future tenants who have consumers who care for the future of the planet will be drawn towards the ethos that the ELIDZ continuously strives for perfection.

“The ELIDZ is aligned to the country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and being responsible with the consumption of limited resources and this sets us apart from a marketing perspective and offers a unique selling point.” 

The ELIDZ has already put plans in place to address areas of improvement identified through the assessment which will further improve the organisation’s scoring in future audits.

“We have already started with a smart street lighting project which holds numerous benefits but there is also the next phase of this project, which is going to be embarked on, where the ELIDZ will be packaging projects to be taken to bankable feasibility stage. This will really enhance the status of our park and attract a new kind of responsible tenants and customers of the future,” concluded Ettmayr.