Saturday, 15 June 2024
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Climate change reality check for sugar stakeholders

Home Agriculture Sugar Climate change reality check for sugar stakeholders

ILLOVO Sugar South Africa hosted a stakeholder breakfast to connect with industry leaders and unpack the company’s business, while exploring the critical impact of climate change on industries including theirs.

MD Ricky Govender outlined some important business developments, highlighting the company’s commitment to continued community involvement and long-term community investment.

Govender mentioned a few of Illovo SA’s environmental focus areas including:

At the Noodsberg operation, investment is planned to address a boiler in the scheduled process which will exceed the new CO2 emission limits.

The Merebank effluent challenge has been ongoing, and teams have been working on a solution to that problem.

There is a major programme to reduce coal burn mainly to achieve CO2 emission targets and to clean up fuel usage. When necessary, bagasse is supplemented with coal at sugar mills. At both Sezela and Noodsberg, Illovo Sugar SA has improved efficiencies to enable a reduction in coal consumption of around 30,000 tons per year. Govender said that this had also resulted in cost-saving.

The company is co-generating electricity at the Eston factory where it is putting electricity onto the grid. Govender said Illovo would like to engage with local municipalities in KZN to see if it could supply electricity directly to local stakeholders.  There are plans to export electricity out of the Sezela factory as well, he said.

Climate Change

In her keynote address, leading climate scientist, Professor Debra Roberts, issued a powerful call to action. She urged attendees to enact transformative changes, both individually and within businesses, to curb our destructive impact on natural resources. “There is only one bottom line that counts – maintaining a liveable planet,” she said.

“None of us is doing enough. The science really isn’t pulling any punches anymore. It’s very clear that our current pattern of developments and our current growth of emissions are simply incompatible with a sustainable and equitable world.”

Roberts retired as head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in eThekwini Municipality earlier this year. She is Chair of Open Science: University of Twente in The Netherlands and President: AXA Research Fund Scientific Board, an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and IPCC Co-Chair WGII AR6.

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