'CIRCULARITY’ aims to do away with waste while recovering resources for its continual use. At its very core, it encourages the use of eco friendly and regenerative methods with the result of a ‘take, create and reuse’-model of production. This is contrary to the ‘take, create, dispose of’-model of production used by the traditional linear economy.
The circular economy is a win-win sustainable approach as it produces long term benefits that can be grossly summarized as monetary-, aesthetic-, environmental-, and community benefits.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become so important, companies cannot afford to ignore it anymore. Furthermore, environmental protection is one of the key drivers pushing businesses globally towards CSR.
The core concept of CSR is that corporations can no longer act as isolated economic entities operating in detachment from broader society (source:IISD). Apart from environmental protection, increased customer interest and investor pressure are two major aspects that are negatively influenced when companies to not exert ethical conduct and act anti-ecological.
SPARK LONG TERM BENEFITS FOR YOUR COMPANY: The integration of environmental management tools into business plans, including life-cycle assessment and costing, and environmental management standards can spark the following long term benefits for your Company:
- Improved financial performance; - Enhanced brand image and reputation; - Increased sales and customer loyalty; - More ability to attract and retain employees; - Product safety and decreased liability.
On the international front, anti-ecological behavior is strongly discouraged and South Africa’s legislative climate is transforming to embrace the global move towards a decarbonized economy. The year 2019 marked this shift firstly with the implementation of carbon taxes and secondly, the massive shift in South Africa's waste legislation that forbids liquid waste from landfill.
1. Carbon taxes: Since 1 June 2019 government is taxing carbon (source: The Daily Maverick 3 June 2019). The main taxable aspects regarding soil- & water contamination is sources of water pollution (pesticides, artificial fertilizers, acids, etc), waste management (industrials), earth manipulation and the extraction and use of natural resources.
2. Zero liquid waste to landfill: The South African government has already released (and continues to release) changes to the National Environment Management: Waste Act of 2008. One important development is the ban on all forms of liquid waste, as well as hazardous waste with a calorific value of >20MJ/kg from landfill disposal effective as of 23 August 2019 (source: bizcommunity.com). This ban was enforced by The Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries (DEFF).
These changes in legislation place significant importance on the effective management of waste water and soil pollution. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS - Old term: DWA) is the regulatory body and takes action when the National Water Act is violated. When it comes to water resource management they focus on the sustainable use of water through the protection of the quality of water resources for the benefit of all water users. Therefore, sound disposal of treated waste water into the environment is strictly enforced, and the emphasis on effective reuse (or recycling) is actively promoted.
IN CONCLUSION, the 'legislative climate' clearly predicts that more aggressive enforcement of regulations by authorities in the future, worldwide but specifically for South Africa, is inevitable. Knowing environmental taxation is a key tool used by authorities to drive towards legislation adherence, embracing these regulations with sustainable soil and liquid waste management strategies, should save your company substantial amounts and contribute significantly to secure its future.