Atlanta, GA (September 14, 2016) —Customers and stockholders in South Africa are now taking an increasingly strong interest in how the actions of corporations influence the environment around them. This trend is in turn pressuring organizations of all types – and their corporate real estate professionals -- to be keenly aware of how large their environmental footprint is, and how it can be reduced.
The findings are part of a new report by CoreNet Global, South Africa: Green Buildings on the Agenda. CoreNet Global is the world's leading professional association for corporate real estate executives, workplace professionals and economic developers.
Many companies based in and locating to South Africa have set a goal of a zero footprint portfolio; they are designing their campuses to be energy neutral.
For example, earlier this year telecommunications provider Telkom South Africa embarked on its plan to take its headquarters near Pretoria 100 percent off the power grid. The campus will have a Photovoltaic solar panel farm, with a plan for it to eventually support all of the campus' power needs. The HQ will support more than 6,000 employees and feature electric vehicle charging stations, and an office design that will reduce the energy needed for cooling.
Complex technologies will create a greater demand for engineers on the CRE team. According to the 2016 World Green Building Trends report, a shortage of trained green building professionals is being felt in South Africa at a higher degree than the global average. This shortage is being felt across many markets that are newer to green building and incorporating sustainability into the built environment.
Urbanization and government initiatives are among the forces driving the trend toward green building in the country. According to the CoreNet Global report, South Africa is urbanizing at a fast pace, consistent with the rest of the world. Between 2010 and 2015, the annual rate of urbanization in South Africa was 1.59 percent; while the percentage of urbanization in 2015 was 64.8 percent. This figure is expected to go up to 80 percent by 2050.
Urbanization directly impacts the environment. According to a report by UN-Habitat, cities account for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gases, while occupying around 2 percent of land. Growing cities also put a unique kind of pressure on resources and utilities.
South Africa's government is responding.
According to Jess Cleland, Divisional Director – Strategy & Consulting, Broll, "The constraints of the power grid and the drought are forcing South Africa to take a closer look at its consumption of natural resources. The government, private citizens, as well as corporations, have all felt the effects. This has led all segments of society to become more open to looking for solutions that will reduce their energy footprint and water consumption as well as their costs. Overall there is recognition that South Africa has a tremendous resource in the sun and wind that can be leveraged to move forward the clean energy and sustainability agenda, while also gaining an additional, more renewable supply of power."
The complete report is available for download in the CoreNet Global Knowledge Center.