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SA conferencing recognised by Africa for sustainability initiatives, in face of global sustainability movement

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With an accelerated global drive towards business operating more sustainably, it was with much pride that South Africa walked away smiling at the recent World Trade Market (WTM) event, hosted in Cape Town, as one of its own was recognised out of top contenders across the African continent, for its positive impact on climate change. 

Cape Town’s Century City Conference Centre was awarded Silver for Positive Climate Impact last month, for actively seeking ways to improve its carbon footprint, its contribution to the decarbonisation of tourism operations, and its innovation in seeking out ways to protect the environment and local communities against threats, ensuring business continuity.

Global trends in sustainability
This recognition is made more significant as worldwide the meetings, incentives, conference and events (MICE) sector calls for its businesses and industry service providers to make meaningful changes in their business operations and practices in support of sustainability.

Some of the trends being seen are an increasing demand for clean energy; more transparent enterprise sustainability; the implementation of technology to support sustainable development and operations; adapting what is already in place to operate in a more eco-friendly manner; enabling sustainable consumption and production; and building sustainable supply chains. 

And these are the principles and compass that are at the heart of the Century City Conference Centre and Hotels Group’s sustainability drive.

SA businesses doing their part
“From our structure and design, to how we put all the elements together, we ensured that basic and vital elements were designed with a greener approach”, says Gary Koetser, CEO of Century City Conference Centre and Hotels. “For example, the Conference Centre was built with dual plumbing to allow the use of effluent water in the toilets, which saves the use of potable water by 50%. This is why we built our waste room big enough to accommodate eight waste streams, as part of our aim to send 0% to landfill.”

The Group also ensured that buildings and various operational processes were designed according to strict Green Building and eco-friendly principles and guidelines, says Koetser, which resulted in the development, which includes Century City Conference Centre, being the first development in the Western Cape (and the second in South Africa) to have been awarded a four-star Green Star custom mixed-use design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.

The Conference Centre has also invested R4-million in installing 800kWp solar photovoltaic panels on its roof to reduce its dependency on the electrical grid, which collectively generate enough clean electricity annually to reduce carbon emissions by 17%. It has recently added an additional 120kWp of solar panels, resulting in 920kWp of renewable energy. 

“From a ‘consumables’ perspective, we make use of reusable and renewable products for our conference packs, like providing pencils instead of pens to conference delegates to help mitigate the environmental impact of single-use plastics. To the extent that we have eliminated single-use plastic water bottles, and make use of glass bottles to provide sparkling and still water for guests. This eliminates approximately 6,000 plastic bottles from the waste stream per month,” says Koetser. 

“Century City Conference Centre and Hotels is stringent in remaining transparent with regards to our sustainability initiatives, and taking responsibility for what we do to have a positive impact on our environment and surrounding communities,” adds Koetser. “To this end, we use a fact-based, data-driven approach to assist in measuring and maintaining our accountability.”

This forward-thinking Group remains passionate about continuing to update and enhance its venue, services, and customer experience – to keep the environment top of mind in all it does, ensure that it is applying the best sustainable practices possible, and continually educating its team around sustainable business practice. 

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