Environmental Policy and Strategy Development

CEOs today are more convinced than ever of the need to embed environmental sustainability within their business. While environmental strategy initiatives started as a moral obligation they have now become a key business differentiator. Organisations of all sizes are finding ways to create competitive advantages from their environmental efficiency initiatives resulting in lower costs, greater brand value, reduced risks, new and innovative products and services, increased trust of shareholders and enhanced appeal and loyalty from customers and employees. There are very few companies that have the skills required to create an environmental strategy This skills vacuum is quickly being filled by environmental professionals who are being brought in to consult to companies.

To be a successful Environmental Strategist requires an interesting blend of environmental knowledge, project management and management consulting ability.

In any management consulting role having a well thought out process is a key foundation of success and it is no different with developing an environmental strategy. This process needs to be systematic and involve all key decision makers within the company. Over and above this skill an Environmental Strategist also needs a sound understanding of the key local and global environmental standards as well as the pertinent environmental legislation applicable. Other necessary skills include experience within key environmental operational areas such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management, greening the supply chain and renewable energy to name a few. The ability to help your clients predict and assess new opportunities in the green industry is a clear differentiator. Finally, excellent project management and stakeholder facilitation skills round-off this highly skilled individual.

What is required to be a successful Environmental Strategist?

Solar PV Specialist

(Construction and Installer)

Over are the days when we could rely on low cost electricity from our municipality. More and more households and businesses are considering ways to become less dependent on Eskom and to do this in an environmentally friendly way. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can be installed in different environments; from open expanses in the semi-deserts like the Karoo, to rooftops of big office buildings. Solar PV has also been installed to cover parking spaces giving the possibility to charge electrical cars during daylight hours while offering shade. Advantages of solar energy include that it is a noise free, odourless and carbon emission free power source during its energy-generating phase. In addition it is a proven and mature technology compared to some other renewable energy technologies. The energy needed for the construction of the panels can (depending on the location of installation) be recovered in 1.5 to 4 years, however the guaranteed lifetime of the panels is up to 25 years.

South Africa has an average of almost 300 days of sunshine per year, while the Northern Cape and North West province have one of the highest direct normal irradiation (DNI) (according to the World Radiation Data Centre).This reduces the relative cost of solar electricity in South Africa and means that the solar PV industry will be the major renewable energy supplier in the future.

According to a worldwide study done by the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, it is estimated that about seven direct full-time equivalent jobs per MW are created for the construction of commercial and utility scale PV plants. Per MW, another 16.8 and 0.7 full-time jobs are created for manufacturing and operation respectively. These jobs will require a variety of different skills ranging from administration to electricians, structural and electrical engineers among others. In line with the South African IRP 2010 – 2030 and a total assumed solar PV capacity of 300 MW per year in the short term and a total of 4900 MW until 2025, would result in the creation of 3816 jobs in the short term and 13541 jobs until 2025.

In order to achieve this job creation it is important that the necessary skills will be available to enable local manufacturing and issues around grid connectivity and transmission system capacity will not inhibit the development of PV plants in South Africa.

Energy Efficiency Management

Nowadays it is common knowledge that our world’s resources are limited. The days of cheap coal and electricity from Eskom are gone. Scarcity is becoming an oft-used term. In terms of a solution, our experience has shown that most think immediately of renewable energy. What many don’t realise is that a far higher ROI can be achieved by improving energy efficiency before considering renewable energy. As an example, independent studies have shown that energy consumption can be reduced by up to 85% in certified green buildings. This is mainly done through improvements in lighting, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), adjustments to the building’s envelope, increased efficiency of hot water production and using more energy efficient appliances, and lastly but by no means least, behaviour change.

1861 jobs in the short term and 7340 until 2025.

According to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) there is a net direct employment potential with regards to improving insulation and upgrading lighting and window installation in South Africa of 1861 jobs in the short term and 7340 until 2025. If all efficiency measures were included many more jobs could be created!

Energy efficiency management will be critical for any company looking towards securing their competitiveness. An Energy Efficiency Manager’s aim is to carefully evaluate the organisation’s energy consumption, find energy management opportunities and manage their implementation. Their main role is to lower the cost of electricity and fuel use, whereby allowing the company to still work safely and efficiently. A career in this field requires a solid technical background preferably with a technical education from tertiary educational institution.

Learn more about Energy Efficiency Management.