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.
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, Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Auditing, Sustainability and Green Building Consulting.
Tamryn studied Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town and obtained her BSc (Physical Geography) Honours in 2006. She is also an Accredited Professional with the Green Building Council of South Africa.
Tamryn has been involved with EcoStandard from 2014 and is one of the assessors.
Professor Harro von Blottnitz
CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEEProfessor Harro von Blottnitz joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town in 1998 after 8 years’ experience in industry and as Scientific Officer at Aachen University of Technology. He 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.
Prof. Von Blottnitz is a systems thinker focused on Industrial Ecology, and also leads UCT’s Energy Systems Research Group. His research interests include the life cycle assessment of engineered processes to reduce environmental burdens and to identify sustainable development 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.
Thulani Kuzwayo is the Design Strategy lead at a regenerative design boutique firm. His role involves the development and implementation of the company’s design methodology anchored on human-centered design and systems thinking. The defining feature of the collaborative work is trans-disciplinarity.
Thulani is an experienced Sustainability professional who also served as the WorldGBC Africa Regional Network Chairperson. His past experience as Head of Market Engagement, involved creating a green building public sector advocacy and capacity building strategy, overseeing the Green Building Council South Africa’s Membership Engagement, Marketing and Communications strategy.
In another role he was involved in the generation and oversight of the development and growth of profitable new commercial opportunities. This included the development and maintenance of effective key stakeholder relationships. These were top property owners, property tenants, developers, investors, and financiers who were motivated to commit to ensure that their property activities fully embrace environmental sustainability
Simon Gear is a presenter and educator as well as an environmental advisor and consultant.
Gear studied climatology to Honours level at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1999, after a brief stint as a Geography teacher (Edenvale High), he joined the SABC as a senior consulting climatologist and since then has provided expert comment on climate matters on most of South Africa’s public and private radio stations, as well as producing and presenting weather reports for all of the SABC’s domestic and international television channels. He was also responsible for the training and skills upgrading of all the weather personnel at the SABC. In 2011 he left SABC TV weather to focus his television efforts as anchor of South Africa’s premier environmental show, 50|50. In addition to his TV work, Simon provides weather and science coverage for Primedia.
Simon is owner and founder of internet sports radio station, 1 World Sports Radio.Simon spent time working with WSP Walmsley (now WSP Environmental South Africa) where he worked in the Air Quality Unit. After leaving he remained involved in air quality but in a private consultancy capacity. Simon now runs Kijani Green Energy, an advisory consultancy providing environmental and financial advisory services throughout Southern Africa.
Simon is a best-selling author and also writes a wide range of columns.
Grace Stead started her career as a town planner in local government, but soon realised the challenges of urban living and shifted across to actively promoting sustainable development through Local Agenda 21. After working for local government for 12 years she decided to start a company that focuses on practical sustainable living.
She is passionate about project implementation around issues such as event greening, green building, smart living and low emission development in different industries. She is a skilled facilitator, trainer and public speaker. She is a dedicated hard worker but loves to travel and enjoy life.
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.
As a toxicologist Sean has advised on public health risks and industrial compliance across a range of hazardous chemicals including heavy metals, organics, radionuclides, explosives and chemical warfare agents. He acted as the lead toxicologist on the development of methodologies and screening values for the Department of Environmental Affairs as part of the Framework for Contaminated land Assessment in support of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (no. 59 of 2008).
Sean’s background in toxicology and health risk assessment naturally led to an interest in sustainable building materials. He has been an active supporter of the GBCSA having 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 Master’s 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.
Besides assisting clients with general legal advice, or in litigation, a strong focus of his work is in the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001 fields where he helps to ensure that they obtain and maintain their certification. This is done through legal compliance audits and assessments, as well as the compilation and updating of Legal Registers identifying site and process specific legislation and advising clients of any legal changes.
He provides expert legal services to the corporate, industrial and government sectors, as well as consultants, other law firms and NGO’s.
Recognition and Awards
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 – The Story…
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.
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.