AfriSam signalled its seriousness about its environmental stewardship over 15 years ago with the introduction of its first environmental policy in 1994. AfriSam operates this drive towards ‘greening’ the industry at several different levels simultaneously, making it a leader in environmentally responsible cement and concrete manufacturing in southern Africa.
“Environmental stewardship is a business imperative for all companies today, and indeed at AfriSam our continued focus on this aspect of sustainability has seen best practice initiatives implemented across our operations,” says Nivashni Govender, environmental specialist at AfriSam.
Significantly, AfriSam was the first cement, aggregate and readymix producer in southern Africa to publish an environmental policy in 1994. Today, the organisation has a comprehensive sustainability roadmap which covers a broad range of focus areas, including waste management, water conservation, biodiversity conservation, emissions reduction and energy management. The company has established performance indicators that continuously monitor and track compliance to the company’s sustainability roadmap targets.
Mine rehabilitation is an area where AfriSam had led industry with mine rehabilitation plans for all the company’s quarries completed in 1984. This was followed by the establishment of a dedicated Nature Conservation Trust in 1986 to provide funding for the closure of these mines.
“Rehabilitation of land impacted by AfriSam’s mining activities is not just a legal requirement but a moral obligation, and this level of long-term planning by AfriSam demonstrates a commitment that will ensure that land can be returned to a self-sustainable landform to be enjoyed by future generations,” Govender says. AfriSam actively practices concurrent rehabilitation at its sites where possible which is in line with its policy to restore mined-out land to as close to its original state as possible. In many instances alternative use is found for the land such as turning it into reservoirs, dams or recreational facilities.
Environmental stewardship also requires that a company is proactive when considering its impact on the environment and this has been the case in Saldanha Bay. AfriSam has received approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planningfor the construction of an integrated cement manufacturing facility on the Saldanha Peninsula in the Western Cape. This piece of land, owned by AfriSam, contains pristine vegetation of exceptional conservation value and therefore needs to be adequately protected to prevent extinction of these rare species of flora.
To ensure the sustainability of the relevant flora, Govender says AfriSam has set aside over 500 ha of the land it owns in Saldanha for conservation purposes. This land has received contract nature reserve status, the highest level of stewardship, and underscores AfriSam’s commitment to conserving natural resources, including flora, for future generations.
AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture
Together with the South African Institute of Architects, AfriSam is the founding partner of the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture. Since 2009, the awards have grown into South Africa’s most prestigious sustainability awards, honouring outstanding achievements in sustainable architecture and creating public awareness and debate on architectural issues and sustainability in the built environment. Entries for the 2015/2016 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture, which closes at the end of March 2016, have introduced two new categories – Sustainable Products and Technology and Sustainable Social Programmes. More information about the awards and the submission of entries can be found on www.sustainabledesign.co.za.
AfriSam believes in ‘creating concrete possibilities’ for future generations by approaching sustainability in a holistic manner and investing in manufacturing processes and business practices that make a positive contribution towards conserving our planet.
More information from Maxine Nel, Tel: +27(0)11 670 5893 / www.afrisam.co.za
Published in Concrete Trends