Lisa Reynolds, Sustainability Development Director at Saint-Gobain, believes that while households can make a difference en-masse, industry needs to make the biggest contribution to sustainability, and erode the age old mind-set of purely driving profitability. “The environment must be a priority, businesses must implement sustainable practices, which will, in the long-run, result in major financial savings and improve their bottom line,” she adds.
“When it comes to driving sustainability in business, women must stand up and own this space. Women must demonstrate leadership in driving corporate sustainability and responsibility. Women must work together to develop strategies that will make businesses adopt a sustainability mind-set. We need to move to a place where companies embrace creative, meaningful sustainability projects, based on the economic and social advantages of these,” says Lisa.
Sustainability in South Africa is certainly making significant strides to catch up with commonplace practices employed across the globe.
According to Lisa, the real problem in South Africa is not whether or not we have electricity, the real problem is if we have no water. “Electricity can be generated, at a cost, but there is no possible way to generate water.” A very scary thought. “The water crises is catastrophic, by 2025 we will be 1.7% short on the water needed for people to survive. Our infrastructure is very old and needs to be upgraded. We are currently losing 43 million litres of water a year due to leaking pipes,” explains Lisa.
In 2011 energy efficiency for buildings was legislated, thanks to Lisa’s passion and commitment to the cause. Today the building envelope must be designed and built in such a way that heat loss and gain are minimised. Every five years the standards are re-drafted to increase the requirements, with the long-term vision as per the National Development Plan, for zero carbon emission building standard by 2030.