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PPC’s Executive of Business Development discusses sustainability

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World Cement,

This year’s Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) Congress once again places sustainability in the spotlight, with sustainability, in recent years, coming to mean a complete shift in company philosophy and mindset. In light if this, Kevin Odendaal, PPC’s Executive of Business Development, argues that there has never been a better time to explore the possibilities associated with a sustainable business approach, particularly in Africa. Ensuring that these translate into realities will require all players in the construction value chain to take a long-term view.

In reference to the construction industry, sustainability references everything from how one does business, through to how one maintains the final structure delivered to the client well into the future. Our understanding of sustainability thus needs to be dynamic, with actions and approaches subject to change with the development of new knowledge and findings.

For example, sustainable buildings provide healthier living environments, increased quality of life, lower health costs and the increased rates of performance and productivity that come with social integration. This then translates into reduced costs, with savings on maintenance, and thus positively impacts the economic security of residents. Africa’s need for infrastructure and numerous socio-economic challenges means that the impact of sustainable building potentially becomes priceless, and also provides local companies with a reason to look beyond South Africa’s borders for future prospects.

However, making these opportunities reality will require strategic and focused partnerships. The design of any building, along with the combination, quality and durability of the materials used, is of primary importance when the service part of the building’s lifespan contributes most to its sustainability. As such, the interdependence of concrete, steel and aluminium, for example, cannot be taken for granted in terms of the long-term maintenance and durability of the overall structure.

The affect of temperature control on the sustainability of buildings is a particularly good indicator of this. Concrete, for example, is able to reduce the amount of energy needed to control temperatures because of its thermal mass. This makes its properties worth exploring and understanding in the context of African climates, in order that they might be fully taken advantage of.

It is also important that innovations take place across the full value chain. In this respect, larger companies with a Pan-African footprint can potentially unlock new value chain opportunities for their smaller counterparts and partners. Given current statistics and projections, there has never been a better time to strive towards a more sustainable industry.

Adapted from press release by

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