EcoStandard South Africa’s vision is to be an independent and trusted certification body which sets environmental standards of excellence that are used to measure and rate a product, manufacturer and or service provider The current focus is the building sector in South Africa. We intend to generate the demand for environmentally responsible organisations by participating in the global move towards creating an awareness of environmental consideration of our planet when choosing products. We’d like to assist in making choices simpler when practising a culture of environmental awareness and consideration.
EcoStandard’s mission is to establish a valuable portfolio of certified and rated products who have been awarded an EcoProduct label for their responsible design and manufacture, recognising outstanding environmental practice.
Sally-Anne Käsner is an Executive Associate at JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd with a background in Sustainability and Baseline Reporting, Environmental Impact Assessments, Integrated Waste Management Plans and Environmental Auditing. Her focus and passion lies within waste management with particular interest in waste minimization practices and material recycling
Bonté Edwards is an Associate at JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd with a background in Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Auditing, Environmental Law, Environmental Education, Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production and Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001).
Bonté studied Biochemistry at the University of Stellenbosch and obtained her BSc (Biochem) Honours in 1997. In 2000, she undertook an MSc in Environmental Biotechnology at Rhodes University, completing in 2001. She has been involved with EcoStandard since the development of the assessment tool and criteria, and is one of the assessors.
Tamryn Heydenrych is a Senior Environmental Scientist at JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd with a background in Environmental Management.
Tamryn studied Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town and obtained her BSc (Physical Geography) Honours in 2006.
She has a background in Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Management Programmes, Environmental Auditing, , project management and the review of Green Building Council of South Africa assessment applications for existing buildings. Tamryn has been involved with EcoStandard from 2014 and is one of the assessors.
Professor Harro von Blottnitz
CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
Professor Harro von Blottnitz holds a BSc (ChemEng), Cape Town, BSc Hons O.R., Unisa, MSc (Eng), Cape Town and a Dr-Ing of Aachen University of Technology, Germany. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering with main interests in the processing of biomass to fuels and the life cycle assessment of engineered processes to identify environmental improvement opportunities. His group also applies process and systems engineering skills to the closure of substance cycles in the economy, and to minimise environmental impacts by wastes and emissions, especially in South Africa’s resource processing industries.
Simon Gear is a presenter and educator as well as an environmental advisor and consultant with an Honours degree in climatology
Simon runs Kijani Green Energy, an advisory consultancy providing environmental and financial advisory services throughout Southern Africa. Simon is a best-selling author and writes a wide range of columns.
Grace Stead is a sustainability strategist with a background in town planning – she obtained her BASc in Town and Regional Planning Honours Degree in 1993 from Potchefstroom University. She became actively involved in promoting sustainable development in 2000 when asked to be the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Co-ordinator for the City of Tygerberg and later Cape Town.
She has worked in in local government and has received international acclaim, shewas very involved with the WSSD in 2002 and the ICLEI World Congress in 2006 and developed the initial Green Building Guidelines for the City of Cape Town.
She established Steadfast Greening to focus on promoting sustainable development in a practical way, with a strong focus on providing support to sustainability teams. She is a founding member of the Event Greening Forum, which is an NGO set up to promote sustainable eventing in South Africa.
BOARD MEMBER & TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
Sean Doel has a BSc (Hons) in Geology (UCT), BSc in Biochemistry (UNISA), MSc in Environmental Geochemistry (UCT) and postgraduate training in Environmental Toxicology from RMIT University in Australia.
Sean is one of South Africa’s leading environmental risk management specialists, with experience in both government and private sector work. He has worked at national policy level as well as on a wide range of environment and sustainability projects as both a specialist and project director.
He has chaired the development of the materials section of the GBCSA Retail Rating Tool as well as acting on the GBCSA PVC Technical Committee.
In 2008 Sean cofounded Simply Green, a lifestyle magazine dedicated to sustainable living, and in 2010 was awarded the Magqubu Ntombela / Ian Player Cub Award at the 22nd annual SAB Environmentalist and Environmental Journalists of the Year Awards for his role as Founding Editor of the magazine.
BOARD MEMBER & TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
Michelle Ludwig is a principle green building consultant for Ludwig Design Consulting. She gained international experience in green building design and rating systems with the firms HOK and William McDonough + Partners and now caters to the South African context.
Michelle is a Green Star South Africa Accredited Professional, Assessor, GBCSA Faculty Member and has contributed to the development of many Green Star Tools. Michelle holds a BSc, Interior Architecture Design, Masters of Industrial Design and a Post Graduate Diploma, Higher Education Studies.
Mark Dittke holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Law (LL.M) from the University of Cape Town and is currently the managing attorney for Mark Dittke Attorney, a law firm specialised in Environmental, Health and Safety law.
He provides expert legal services to the corporate, industrial and government sectors, as well as consultants, other law firms and NGO’s.
EcoStandard has been recognised and/or endorsed by the following organisations and associations:
- Greening the Future Awards 2014 – Winners of the category “non-profit organisations that promote economic growth and job creation in conjunction with low carbon development and natural resource efficiency. These are projects that encourage and/or demonstrate the wisdom of investment in the green economy”
- Eco-logic Awards 2014 – Certificate of Merit was awarded to EcoStandard for our efforts and contributions to creating an eco-logical world.
EcoStandard is the first South African ecolabel for building products that was designed by South Africans for the South African market – a truly home-grown initiative. EcoStandard was founded as a Non-Profit Organisations by EcoExhibit and JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd in 2009. EcoStandard identified the need for an eco-label as there was no way to distinguish legitimate claims and greenwash.
Research and Development
In the early stages of developing the tool a significant amount of research was conducted into existing international tools and it was soon realised that it was not going to be possible to import an already developed tool into the South African market. South Africa has very limited, if any, lifecycle data (i.e. energy, water, waste, etc.) to base a tool on and it would not be realistic nor fair to the South African market to use international data.
A survey was conducted amongst various affiliates to the building industry in September 2012. The overall perception was that there is a need for an eco-label for building products.
The Assessment Tool was developed using the principles of the Life Cycle Analysis (an assessment from Cradle-to-Grave and in line with the guidelines established by ISO 14024).
- ISO14024 is a Type 1 environmental labelling programme which is “voluntary, multiple-criteria-based third party programme that awards a licence which authorizes the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations” (ISO14024: 1999, p1).
EcoStandard decided to consider a Cradle-to-Cradle approach and therefore includes ‘recyclability’. It is important to ensure that the technical materials of the product are maintained in the resource economy which requires appropriate design principles right from the start.
Testing and Pilot Programme
A Pilot assessment phase was undertaken which included assessments of Icologie, L.E.D Lighting SA and Xanita. Based on results and feedback the assessment and evaluation criteria were further refined and adjusted.
After review by the technical committee the final assessment tool was made available to the Board for approval.
Once the Board members reviewed and approved the final tool, EcoStandard was officially launched on 22 August 2013. The launch included the first EcoProduct official certification hand-over to Xanita whose X-Board scored a 4-star rating.
Product certification schemes are assessed against the criteria stipulated in the GBCSA Product Certification Scheme – Assessment Tool
Product certification schemes, after assessment by the GBCSA, are categorised into three categories A, B and C, according to the following point thresholds:
Level A (25 – 37)
Level B (18 – 24)
Level C (8 – 17)
GBCSA Product Certification Scheme – Assessment Tool
EcoStandard has been validated on the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Product Certification Scheme –
Assessment Tool and our EcoStandard 4 & 5 Star Rating is considered a Level A Certification.
All three categories A, B and C, are according to the GBCSA’s point thresholds:
Level A (25 – 37)
Level B (18 – 24)
Level C (8 – 17)
EcoProduct is an ecolabel for building products and building systems and is aimed at the construction and interiors market.
The EcoProduct label aims to assist in eliminating fraudulent and dishonest marketing claims and providing clear, informative and useful labelling information for consumers. Manufacturers and producers of products that make genuine claims will have the confidence to market their products knowing that the consumer has a user-friendly tool that substantiates their claims.
EcoProduct assessment is based on a Cradle-to-Grave approach which considers the following life cycle stages of a product / material /system, etc.:
- the extraction of the raw materials,
- materials processing and manufacture of the product,
- packaging and distribution,
- product use by final consumers, and
- end of life / product disposal / recyclability (not included in Cradle-to-Grave approach).
EcoStandard has taken it a step further, to consider a Cradle-to-Cradle approach by including ‘recyclability’ in the ‘last’ life stage of the assessment.
EcoLabels in Earthworks Magazine
Unfortunately the ability to distinguish between a legitimate eco product and one that is not, remains a grey area, allowing for greenwashing to discredit the genuine supplier. This is a huge concern within the professional building sector, says Jeffares & Green environmental engineer Sally-Anne Käsner, who is part of the team bringing EcoStandard, a new locally created and non-profit ecolabel, on to the market.
The following table provides a high level comparison between three local Ecolabels
(Compiled by Michelle Ludwig of Ludwig Design Consulting). Original PDF available here.