NCPC-SA Profile

The National Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa (NCPC-SA) is a national programme that supports industry in the implementation of resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) methodologies – helping companies to save through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and improved waste management.

The Centre is a programme of the national Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The services of the NCPC-SA are, at this stage, fully subsidised by the South African government to enable companies to proactively address environmental compliance, as well as contribute to reducing the strain on national energy and water resources.

The Centre’s mission is to foster the efficient utilisation of resources, reduce tangible and intangible costs and improve industry competitiveness of the participating companies in a sustainable manner.

This is achieved through the following four strategic objectives:

  1. Awareness raising, advocacy and demonstration of the benefits of RECP.
  2. Technical support to industry through RECP methodologies and tools.
  3. Facilitating implementation of RECP in industry.
  4. Capacity building and development of RECP skills.

Within these four objectives core services are offered across four thematic areas: energy, water, materials and waste.

Industrial Energy Efficiency Project
Due to the energy crisis and ever-rising costs of energy in South Africa, the NCPC-SA has a strong focus on supporting SA industry in managing its energy consumption. In partnership with UNIDO, the NCPC-SA promotes and implements Energy Management Systems (EnMS) and Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO) through the Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project in South Africa (IEE Project).

Since 2010, the IEE Project assisted around 150 companies to implement ISO 50 001-aligned EnMS and optimise key industrial systems such as fans, pumps, compressed air, steam and motors. Actual energy savings of 2120 GWh of energy have been recoded to date, enough to electrify 295 000 middle income SA households for 12 months.  To access information on the Energy

Efficiency Services click here, for success stories click here.

Industrial Symbiosis Programme
The NCPC-SA is leading the implementation of the national Industrial Symbiosis (IS) Programme with implementing partners in three South African provinces – Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Through the IS Programme the NCPC-SA engages separate industries and sub sectors in a collective approach to promote competitive advantage involving the physical exchange of materials, energy, water and companies by products.  Visit: to read more.

Sectors served
The NCPC-SA has until now focused primarily on the manufacturing sector, with a few other key sectors supported to some extent.

Sub sectors within manufacturing where RECP has been implemented include:

  • Agro-processing
  • Automotive
  • Chemicals, plastics fabrication, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals
  • Clothing, textiles, footwear and leather
  • Pulp and paper
  • Metals fabrication, capital goods and transport equipment
  • Green industries and waste management
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Mining (IEE Project only).

National Context:
In South Africa, commitments have been made to green-house gas (GHG) reduction and there is a critical need to reduce energy demand. But the need for industrial growth, linked directly to economic growth and job creation, is of equal importance and so these two potentially divergent demands must both be met to ensure a healthy socio-economic future for South Africa. 

For South African industry, in particular manufacturers, GHG emissions and commitment to environmental objectives are also a potential determining factor in accessing international trade opportunities.

In addition to environmental considerations, resource intensity is a major challenge from an input cost perspective. The rising cost of energy in particular is creating profitability challenges, and it may not be long before water becomes an equally expensive commodity albeit it is already a scarce resource.

In terms of industrial policy and industrial development objectives, the NCPC-SA is one of the dti programmes working to address these challenges. The NCPC-SA is wholly funded by the South African government through the dti.
Strategies and Policies: 

  • National Development Plan

South Africa’s long-term vision of an equitable society is provided by the National Development Plan (NDP): Vision for 2030. Government policy set out in the NDP, the New Growth Path (NGP) and other documents seek to ensure a restructuring of the economy to set it on a more value-adding, labour-intensive and environmentally sustainable trajectory.

  • Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP)

The IPAP 2013/14 –2015/16 (IPAP2) sets out the government’s industrial policy and implementation tactics to create critical platforms for scaling up key strategic sectors. The IPAP holds that sustainable long-term development should be underpinned by higher growth, exports and labour-intensive, value-adding economic activity in the production sectors, led by manufacturing. It is widely and increasingly acknowledged that manufacturing must play a critical role in this adjusted model of economic development.

  • National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS)

The NSDS is the overarching strategic guide for skills development and provides direction to sector skills planning and implementation in the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). It provides a framework for the skills development levy resource utilisation of these institutions, and sets out the links to and responsibilities of other education and training stakeholders. The NSDS is guided by the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa, the New Growth Path, IPAP, outcomes of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, rural development strategy and new environment strategy. It seeks a closer synergy between the world of work and South Africa’s formal education system.

The dti’s Green Economy focus
The realisation of a Green Economy relies on the enablers of a sound regulatory framework with reliable market-based instruments, backed by innovation in science and technology, greater localisation and improved manufacturing. Added to this, investment, finance opportunities and financing instruments need to flow alongside readily available skills and institutional capabilities and capacity.

The dti’s current green economy focus areas revolve around:

  • renewable and nuclear energy;
  • energy / resource efficient and cleaner production;
  • waste management and recycling;
  • water / waste water industries; and
  • industrial climate change response measures.

Other strategies and acts that inform the mandate of the NCPC-SA include:

  • Integrated Resource Plan
  • National Energy Act
  • National Energy Efficiency Strategy
  • National Environmental Management Act 
  • National Water Act
  • National Waste Act

High-level multilateral and bilateral agreements the NCPC-SA has entered into are:

  • Gauteng Economic Development;
  • KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development;
  • Green Cape;
  • Productivity South Africa; and
  • Proudly South Africa.

There are also various agreements in place with municipalities, local governments and national departments, including the Department of Tourism and the Department of Environmental Affairs.

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