Climate talks a platform to raise awareness of green programmes

18th November 2011 By: Joanne Taylor

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) will provide a useful platform for the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA), hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to raise awareness of its greening and skills development programmes.

Since its establishment in 2002, the NCPC-SA and the CSIR have been helping businesses within different industries to improve their environmental performance and increase competitiveness. In response to the country’s current energy demand challenges and carbon emissions targets, the NCPC-SA is also hosting the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) improvement project.

Training workshops are presented around the country by international trainers contracted by the green industrial development body, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), to build local skills in energy management systems and promote the optimisation of systems that are the biggest consumers of energy in industry, such as steam and compressed air systems.

Unido, in cooperation with the departments of Environmental Affairs and Trade and Industry, is implementing a Global Environment Facility-funded Greening of COP 17 project.

NCPC-SA CEO Ndivhuho Raphulu says a key component of the greening project is a clean technology innovation (Cleantech) competition for green entrepreneurs and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with innovative ideas and concepts in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building practices. The competition is being managed by the NCPC-SA.

Raphulu explains the objectives of the competition are to raise awareness and change mindsets about clean technology, while simultaneously creating opportunities for SMEs and entrepreneurs to find solutions for some of the most critical environmental and economic issues of the day.

Entries are expected to lead to job creation and the delivery of improved products or the introduction of new services, contributing to initiatives to stimulate the green economy in the country.

The NCPC-SA is a member of the Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production Network (RECPnet), a global network that aims to enable and contribute to the effective and efficient implementation and transfer of greening technologies from continent to continent.

Raphulu was recently elected sub-Saharan Africa’s representative on the executive committee of RECPnet and says its key out- puts are to facilitate international RECP awareness building and skills development, knowledge generation and management, as well as mobilisation of funding to encourage intercountry green projects on the different continents.

The NCPC-SA will be contributing to displays at two exhibition stands during COP 17, one at the Department of Trade and Industry’s stand, displaying its IEE improvement project, and another displaying its RECP services and case studies at the CSIR stand. The winners of the Cleantech competition will be announced at a side event to COP 17.