International Industrial Ecology Day 2023
Harnessing Our Common Humanity of Ubuntu to Advance the Concepts of Industrial Ecology in South Africa 14:00-15:00 SAST (12:00-13:00 UTC)
Date: 30 November 2023, time 14:00-15:00 SAST (UTC+2)
We ask that you register for this session at this link if you plan to attend.
Convenor: Nobantu A Mtimde
Preamble: Industrial Ecology seeks to apply the knowledge of systems in nature to the design and operation of industrial activities to achieve integrated and sustainable relationships between the natural world and industry. Furthermore, it is a construction between what is ecologically possible within the framework of the capacity of the ecosystems involved (the biosphere), and what is socially desirable and acceptable within the framework of a sustainable society that lives within the boundaries established by ecological limits.
Ubuntu, derived from the aphorism ‘Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu’ (A person is a person because of, or through others) has been described as the capacity to express compassion, reciprocity, dignity, humanity and mutuality in the interests of building and maintaining communities in a just manner. It is believed that special contribution to the world by Africa will be in the field of human relationships. Great global powers may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look, but the great gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face.
The adoption of industrial ecology in South Africa suggests that industrial symbiosis strategies are key to accelerating progress. However, in South Africa some of the obstacles to the initiation and management of an industrial ecosystem include:
• Company concerns with regard to propriety or confidential information;
• Negotiating balance of payments;
• Reluctance on the part of a business to be involved in inflexible contractual commitments that do not relate directly to their core activity; for instance, guaranteeing a waste stream for a contractual period;
• Supervision and operation of co-treatment facilities; and
• The complexity of managing the wastes produced by the companies.
• Lack of legislative support for industrial symbiosis.
The following 5 mechanisms have been proposed to promote industrial symbiosis:
• Public-private partnerships between local authorities, industries, waste companies, and government;
• Develop and implement technologies and procedures for industrial symbiosis;
• Link waste generators and waste re-users and recyclers;
• Funding mechanisms for the exchange of low value commodities; and
• Link waste minimization clubs, waste exchanges and future industrial ecological parks and zones.
2. PROGRAMME PROPOSAL
International Industrial Ecology Day is dedicated to staying updated on the latest sustainability research, exchanging innovative ideas, and reconnecting with colleagues worldwide.
As this is South Africa’s Inaugural Industrial Ecology Day, our aim is to harness our common humanity through Ubuntu to come together to discuss opportunities that will advance the concepts of Industrial Ecology in South Africa resulting in a more inclusive, creative and sustainable society and economy.
3. KEY TOPICS/THEMES INCLUDE
A. Awareness of Industrial Ecology as a framework
B. Developing a standardised body of practice and processes related to the implementation of Industrial Ecology;
C. Developing data driven frameworks to authenticate, validate and enable scalability of IP, material and energy flows, socioeconomic impact, compliance standards,
D. Integrating the role of Academia to promote Sustainability Science Learning, Research, and Policy Development;
E. Standardisation of the homologation procedures through regulatory bodies
F. Innovation and Futurism at the nexus of socioeconomic metabolism
G. Fostering economic inclusion to create sustainable impact
4. GUEST SPEAKERS
Alan C. Brenta, S. O. (2008). Advancing the concepts of Industrial Ecology in South African Institutions
. Science Direct: South African Journal of Science 104, January/February 2008, 9-11.
University of Pretoria . (2023, November 16 ). University of Pretoria. Retrieved from