Environmental Issues Accountability
There is responsibility at board level by way of a subcommittee of the board for issues relating to the environment. In line with our usual approach to matters of such great importance, we believe in doing what is morally and ethically right (and not just because it is required by statute). Some of the initiatives we focus relate to: energy saving in our buildings with lights that turn off, and schools that are built to be naturally cool and hot, we recycle paper and printer cartridges. See our annual report for further information on some of these initiatives.
Managing the impact on both the environment and communities in which we operate is a top priority for ADvTECH. We believe our responsibility in educating students extends beyond academics. Focus is placed on instilling a deep respect for the environment and an understanding of the risks associated with climate change. Our goal is to produce students who are responsible citizens and who respect the physical environment. Although the impact of our operations on the environment is seen as relatively low, ADvTECH monitors and minimises negative environmental effects where possible. ADvTECH reduces its environmental footprint by comprehensive waste management, limiting the use of hazardous substances and promoting energy saving.
The Group introduced a pilot project to measure and control direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during 2012 and this will be extended across the Group. It is estimated that the largest contributor to our carbon footprint is electricity usage which contributes 87% (90% in 2011) of the Group’s CO2 emissions. ADvTECH regards the reduction of electricity consumption as paramount. Projects to reduce electricity consumption include the use of low wattage electrical fittings and motion sensitive light sensors. These measures have resulted in a 7% decline in electricity usage and a 1% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2012.
Solar panels and solar geysers have been installed at all new sites with plans to replace existing geysers with solar geysers over the next few years. Motor and air travel make up the majority of the remaining 13% (2011: 10%) of the total carbon dioxide emissions. The Group has installed video conferencing facilities and telecom hardware to reduce its travel requirement. The Group abides by an Environmental policy that focuses on achieving and demonstrating sound environmental practices with particular reference to engagement with the communities of which we are already a part or are seeking to join.
In developing or expanding buildings, the Properties department conducts impact studies to identify ways to mitigate potential negative effects on the environment. They also develop environmental management plans to protect and maintain sites situated in eco-sensitive areas. We run environmental programmes on an ongoing basis throughout our operation to encourage a greater sense of environmental responsibility. These programmes also form part of the curriculum at our schools.
All developments undertaken by ADvTECH incorporate the installation of motion sensors and energy efficient lights combined with high levels of natural light to reduce electricity consumption.
ADvTECH Group IT developed a Data Centre Refresh Project to reduce the number of physical servers through virtualisation. This has significantly reduced power consumption from 14 kWh to 9 kWh.
The ADvTECH Group uses video conferencing facilities to reduce the need for travel and consequently decreases our carbon footprint. Our large number of staff is spread throughout the country. The Group rolled out SAM Student Portals in 2012 which allow students to apply online, download content and work with lecturers, view account details and academic results. Brands are issuing electronic manuals that can be annotated through a PDF reader. These initiatives greatly reduce the need to print out student information and material.
Rosebank College Benoni partnered with Remade Recycling, a multi-product recycling company, to take its recycling campaign to the next level. The Remade Group is a member of the Institute of Waste Management and is active in the war against waste. The Remade Group has numerous established recycling centres, purchasing recyclable material and creates income opportunities all over Gauteng. With the assistance of Remade, the campus can sort and divide its garbage into bins for specific materials. The Campus Recycling Committee ensures that all garbage is separated and ready for collection by Remade, which handles the recycling process.
Rosebank College Cape Town partnered with the Cape Nature Centre to plant trees in and around the International Volunteer Centre for Arbor day in 2012. Ten student volunteers attended a workshop on the environment and conserving natural resources and assisted with planting the trees at the centre.
Rosebank College Durban spent their 67 minutes of Mandela Day cleaning up the Beachwood Mangroves in Durban. The team of students and staff collected discarded plastic, polystyrene and paper, leaving one of the few saltwater mangrove swamps in South Africa looking cleaner and in a healthier state for the wildlife.
Vega staff and students tackled International Coastal Clean-up Day by removing debris and rubbish from the shoreline.
College Campus Pretoria has equipped its campus with separate bins for cans, glass, plastic and paper to encourage students and staff to be more conscious of recycling. This campus also participated in Earth Hour in 2012 and they are officially registered as participants on the World Wildlife Fund registry.
Varsity College campuses across the country participated in both a local river programme and in Beach Clean-up Day. Participants headed down to their local beaches or rivers to remove the litter in these areas.
Corporate College International gives back to the community by training and encouraging people of developing communities to grow their own vegetables to become more self-sustainable.
Junior Colleges made “Going Green” a priority within the brand for 2012 and cultivated vegetable gardens and worm farms. They also started a recycling campaign for paper, glass and plastic.
CrawfordSchools™ Fourways and La Lucia are located in environmentally sensitive areas which need careful management to maintain their natural balance. The schools encourage the development of a sustainable environment to support bush babies, bull frogs and bird life along with indigenous flora and fauna.
Trinityhouse Palm Lakes buildings have been orientated to maximise natural light in the classrooms and has included larger openings under various sections of the façade to promote cross-ventilation, thus reducing the need for air-conditioners. Both these initiatives have resulted in a reduction in electrical consumption.
Trinityhouse Little Falls has built a 250 thousand litre storage and rainwater harvesting tank, specifically for irrigating its sports fields. As with Palm Lakes, the buildings have been designed to maximise natural light in classrooms and courtyards are used as a climate control measure to create shade in summer and radiate heat in winter.