“We were born back in 2002 after South Africa hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development,” begins Ndivhuho Raphulu, Director of South Africa’s National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA). “One of the local outcomes of that Summit was South Africa’s commitment to the concept of sustainable consumption and production embedded in the Millennium Development Goals, which involves managing resource and production efficiency at all levels. The key driver back then was awareness, and the NCPC-SA was established to begin the transition towards full implementation of this goal,” he tells MechChem Africa.

“Twenty years on, we can proudly say we have survived the childhood and teenage years and are now young adults, having firmly established resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) as an exciting, valuable and even essential transition path for South Africa’s future,” he continues.

Raphulu joined the NCPC-SA in 2006. “At that time, I was a senior sustainability advisor for ESKOM, part of the team responsible for all efficiency and environmental management activities. I was part of a meeting with the CSIR and the Department of Trade and Industry and, after I had expressed myself rather strongly, delegates from the CSIR, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Trade invited me to put together a business plan for the NCPC-SA. Read more on MechChem Africa.

A timeline of the 20-year journey