AfriSam has achieved another significant milestone in its history by becoming the first construction materials company to sign the 49M pledge. This step signifies the company’s commitment to the global agenda for energy efficiency and to playing a proactive role in contributing to energy saving across South Africa.
Launched in March 2011, 49M is an Eskom initiative endorsed by government and business partners to encourage the South African population to embrace energy savings as a national culture and to join the global journey towards a sustainable future.
“Signing this important pledge is an endorsement of our efforts and commitment over more than a decade to improve the electrical energy efficiency of our various operations and thus reduce consumption,” Stephan Olivier, AfriSam’s CEO, says. “In 2005 we became a signatory to the Energy Accord and in 2008 our company was named the National Business Initiative’s Energy Efficiency winner in recognition of electrical energy savings. Between 2000 and 2011, AfriSam reduced specific electrical energy consumption by 18%,” Olivier adds.
“Our ongoing commitment in this arena includes creating awareness as well as educating and influencing the behaviour of all our stakeholders to boost electrical energy efficiencies as a proactive endeavour. We understand and view the impact of our actions on the community and the environment very seriously and we strive to utilise natural resources in a deliberate way, with the objective of sustaining these resources for the use of future generations.”
AfriSam has recorded several significant milestones on this journey to date, including major equipment upgrades at its operations to reduce electrical energy consumption. One of the most notable of these has been the installation of an energy efficient Vertical Roller Mill at the company’s Roodepoort operation in 2008. This mill was commissioned at a 20% higher cost than conventional technology and has since achieved a 24% reduction in electrical energy consumption. Vertical roller mills are also being earmarked for installation at AfriSam’s proposed Saldanha and Coega facilities.
Olivier says the replacement of old drives with variable speed drives, wherever possible, is an ongoing activity across all operations. This initiative was introduced more than 10 years ago and has also contributed to improved energy efficiencies. More recently the company implemented a production and maintenance tool at its Ulco facility in the Northern Cape to assist with load shifting, predominantly during peak demand periods. This tool has contributed significantly to energy saving and will be implemented at the company’s other operations.
Indirectly related to energy efficiency is the use of mineral components that are by-products of the energy generation and steel manufacturing processes, to produce AfriSam’s Advanced Composite Cement products. In addition to further reducing the carbon dioxide footprint of the cement making process, this has successfully created a market for a product that may otherwise be sent to landfill as waste.
“We’re extremely proud of all these achievements, which have spurred us on to accomplish even better savings in the future,” Olivier says. “We’re also planning to introduce an energy efficiency initiative at AfriSam’s central offices in Roodepoort that will see the installation of motion sensors, energy efficient lighting, solar geysers and solar panels. In addition, we’re assisting our employees to become energy efficient in their homes by helping them to apply for Eskom-funded energy efficient lighting, showerheads, solar geysers and timers.”
Olivier says the 49M pledge signing is a natural step for AfriSam as the initiative’s objectives form part of the company’s overall corporate goals.
“The signing of this pledge is yet another milestone in our journey to sustainability which we began many years ago and continue to improve on in our quest to operate our business as a responsible corporate citizen. We are delighted to be aligned with 49M, which will give a strong boost to our stakeholder information and education drive to promote energy efficiency and ensure a sustainable future for all,” Olivier concludes.
To date 49M has signed more than 70 partners. These include Santam, Spintelligent, MTN, Samsung, MassMart, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Food & Trees for Africa, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Solidarity, NUM, and all eight state-owned-companies under the portfolio of Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Leading black-controlled construction materials group AfriSam is one of the most widely spread Cement, Aggregate and Readymix groups in the southern African region, with operations in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Tanzania. The company is a proud Level 2 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) contributor and has a 62.5 percent interest in Tanzania-based and listed Tanga Cement Company Limited. Founded in 1934, AfriSam employs more than 2 000 staff members and has an annual cement production capacity of 5.8 million tons, produced from seven production facilities and distributed to customers through strategically-located cement depots.
The 49M campaign was launched in March last year as a response to the country’s constrained power system, climate change, the recent economic downturn and rising electricity costs. The campaign encourages individuals and corporates to lead energy smart lifestyles thereby saving the planet and their pockets. South Africans are encouraged to join the movement by visiting www.49m.co.za to pledge their support, go to the 49M facebook page or tweet @49MillionSA.