Arguably the most important step to driving any environmental initiative is to change behaviour. As with recycling, it is simply difficult to increase recycling rates without increasing the rate at which recyclables are collected at both the household and company levels, requiring a change in behaviour by both you and I. JD Kirsten, realising the potential wider gains from improved rates of recycling, have adopted a novel approach to onboard its farm workers. Read more
Subsequent to the ratification of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we need to prepare to operate in a carbon constrained economy over the medium to long term. This was emphasised by National Treasury in a press release on the 10th of November 2016. A business as usual scenario is no longer an option. Read more
Since the winter of 2014, the Western Cape region has been in the midst of a significant and worsening drought. The winter rains of 2015 and 2016 have done little to offer relief, and as of the beginning of November 2016, the City of Cape Town entered into Level 3 Water Restrictions, and the agricultural operations of the Western Cape continue to face substantial water-related risks. In this piece, I take a look at the historical levels of the major dams in the Western Cape, and what these might mean for the province’s municipal and agricultural water resources in 2017. Read more
There are a number of freely available mobile and web-based apps that are particularly useful to those operating in South Africa’s agricultural sector. If you haven’t used one of these apps already, we suggest you take a look! Read more
Water is arguably South Africa’s most vital and precious natural resource. It is integral to the survival of human life, the functioning of ecological systems, food and energy production, transportation, waste disposal, and industrial development (1–4). But as human populations grow, consumption patterns change, and economies develop, the pressures on natural water resources continue to increase.
The concept of developing a carbon footprint calculator for emerging farmers in the Western Cape is the subject of a Masters research project funded by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WC DoA). The purpose of this tool is to firstly create awareness around climate change and the impact on agriculture, and secondly to prepare emerging farmers for future carbon audits and declarations for formal market access locally and internationally, as well as the national legislation around the proposed carbon tax.
As a function of its large mineral reserves, South Africa’s carbon-intensive economy has been driven by resource intensive mineral extraction and petroleum and chemicals processing. These industries have long been supported and incentivized by government through the provision of relatively cheap coal-fired generated electricity, taking advantage of South Africa’s extensive coal reserves (Brent et al., 2002).
The Confronting Climate Change Initiative (CCC) has completed the 2014 fruit and wine industry carbon emissions benchmark reports. The development of industry benchmarks for the carbon-emissions of each major commodity have been a significant milestone for the CCC project. Against these benchmarks, individual businesses can “sense-check” and evaluate their own results. In this way the collective profile of industries can be developed and their performance tracked over time. Benchmarking, however, relies heavily on credible industry-level reporting as well as supporting the identification of opportunities for improvement and best-practice at business-level.
The proposed South African carbon tax is outlined in the summary below, followed by a more in-depth breakdown of the tax mechanism and how it relates to agriculture, derived from the Carbon Tax Policy Paper (2013).
Cape Town Office
Blue North Sustainability (Pty) Ltd
PO Box 12529
Blue North Sustainability Ltd
71-75 Shelton Street
Sustainability consultancy driving proactive interventions for holistic management of farming and food businesses.
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