Continuous efforts to reduce waste and pollution and to re-use and recycle material from its daily operations have landed General Motors South Africa (GMSA) an award at the recent prestigious Exporter of the Year ceremony.
The motor manufacturing giant walked off with the SJM Flex award in the environmental category.
According to Ncedisa Mzuzu, General Motors Environmental Group Manager, Africa, GMSA's success is attributed to a number of efficiencies in key focus areas that positively influence sustainability, that is, the environment, operating efficiencies, working conditions, carbon footprint and waste management.
Mzuzu said while the company has made significant progress on the recycling front in the past few years, more focus was placed on reusing of waste opportunities this year. "We have increased reusing of waste by 60% in 2015," said Mzuzu.
Furthermore, the implementation of balers to compress waste at GMSA's four sites in Port Elizabeth has reduced the loads of waste sent to landfill. Mzuzu said this initiative has reduced transportation of waste by 87%.
Meanwhile energy reduction remained a priority with the manufacturing plant at Struandale showing a decrease of 46% energy usage per vehicle produced over the last 4 years.
Mzuzu also explained that the improvement of working conditions for employees gained traction, making their work area more environmentally friendly. "We switched to battery operated tools and equipment from diesel operated vehicles and air operated tools to ensure that employees will not be exposed to harmful emissions," said Mzuzu.
The environmental engineering team further preserve natural resources and enhance habitats surrounding its facilities. "We concentrate on the biodiversity conservation by identifying protected, near threatened and invasive species on our grounds," said Mzuzu.