Programme provides in-depth understanding to boost green industry

16th June 2017 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

Owing to the continuous development and application of new technology in the green industry, training and research provider Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises at UP) will present the biannual ten-day Programme in Environmental Management under the auspices of the Centre for Environmental Studies (CES) at UP.

“This course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of environmental management during socioeconomic development,” says course leader and CES staff member Professor Willem Ferguson.

He mentions that the green industry develops and applies new technology for minimising or mitigating the environmental impact of construction and other economic developments. “In this respect, the green industry provides ideas and technology for designing an environmental management programme. New green technology is also subject to evaluation in terms of environmental impact, mitigation and management, as well as legal requirements,” Ferguson explains.

To achieve sustainable economic and social development, environmental sustainability is addressed in two phases through the programme. The first phase includes the assessment of the environmental sustainability of a new economic or social development, as well as assessing the environmental impact of an initiative, followed by the formulation and application of an environment management programme (EMP) to minimise or mitigate this impact.

The second phase addresses the enforcement of the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998 (Nema) on development projects that have been approved and implemented, as well as ensuring that an EMP is actually implemented – through an environmental audit and/or legal enforcement.

Following the environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations of Nema, the legal obligations of a company are discussed in addition to industry-driven processes such as the International Organisation for Standardisation 140001 environmental management standard.

Sustainable economic and social development typically include performing an EIA to minimise such impact, and/or the audit of the EMP that has been authorised for implementation for a specific development. Environmental impacts, Ferguson notes, reflect ways in which humans affect the long-term sustainability of natural resources.

“A high impact on water quality, for instance, reduces the probability that clean water is available for future generations – also known as the sustainability of a clean water supply. An EIA, together with an EMP, ensures that the environmental impact of a development is minimised and the sustainability of our natural resources is maximised,” he explains. He adds that the industry, by definition, depends on natural resources, and that an EIA and EMP maximise the protection and long-term access to these resources.

“The Programme in Environmental Management provides a detailed, but well-rounded understanding of a range of pertinent environmental and associated issues relevant to a company involved in development projects subject to existing environmental legislation,” Ferguson explains. The course trains professionals in the ways of assessing the environmental impact of an economic development initiative, the thinking involved in applying technology to offset, mitigate or minimise the environmental impact and the legal requirements that must be met.

Carbon footprint and energy management, he notes, is only one aspect of environmental management.

“The green industry also focuses on water management and waste management. In addition, other issues such as biodiversity and social impact are also addressed within the framework of environmental management and the legal requirements applicable to these processes,” Ferguson concludes.