SAQA is serious about sustainable development
Sustainable development has been a buzz phrase over the past few years, but how many organisations are taking it seriously? What does sustainable development mean?
The most common definition of sustainable development is taken from the Brundtland Report:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
- the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."
The Brundtland Commission was formally known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). It was appointed by Javier Perez de Cuellar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, in December 1983. At the time, the UN General Assembly realised that there was heavy deterioration of the human environment and natural resources. The Commission's mission was to rally countries to work and pursue sustainable development together.
SAQA has done quite a bit in the 2011/2012 financial year to ensure that the organisation does its work in a sustainable manner. A committee called the SAQA House Environmental Sustainability Development Committee was set up to reach this objective. Members of staff and tenants of SAQA House have been appointed to serve on it.
Some of the initiatives included in the sustainable development drive include encouraging staff members to recycle. Recycle bins were bought and staff members were shown how to prepare and pack recyclable material.
An indoor air quality survey was done to check the quality of air in SAQA House. Units were installed in the building to ensure that there is fresh air in the building.
The SAQA House Environmental Sustainability Development Committee sourced posters on food waste management, waste recycling, and environmental management from the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Water Affairs. These posters have been placed in the building to ensure increased awareness on sustainable development. Information on this topic has also been distributed to staff using the intranet, and also through reading material made available in the Resource and Information Centre.
At the most recent review of the Supply Chain Management Policy, care was taken to ensure that the policy includes principles of environmentally sustainable development. An energy feasibility study was done to find out where the organisation uses most energy. The study found that air conditioners made up 65% of SAQA's energy use, while lighting accounted for 15%. Therefore to reduce the use of energy, SAQA has started to replace old light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs. Air conditioners have been linked to a time switch to switch them off in the evenings.
The SAQA House Environmental Sustainability Development Committee aims to ensure that in the 2012/2013 financial year more strides are made to ensure that SAQA does business in a sustainable manner.
The Brundtland Commission officially dissolved in December 1987 after releasing the Brundtland Report in October 1987. The organisation, Center for Our Common Future, was started up to take the place of the Commission. The Center for Our Common Future was officially started in April 1988.
Compiled by Tumelo Modisane
SAQA Sustainable Development Committee Reports
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