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Cape Town central city businesses lead in resilience and the green economy

Cape Town central city businesses lead in resilience and the green economy

A number of companies with major investments in the Cape Town CBD are being recognised for their efforts in contributing towards the resilience of the city, as well as the vital role they are playing in the move towards a sustainable Green Economy.

According to the latest edition of The State of Cape Town Central City Report: 2018 – A year in review, published annually by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), these companies include the First Rand Group, Virgin Active, Woolworths, Growthpoint and the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Commenting on the significance of this recognition for the CBD, Rob Kane, chairperson of the CCID, notes: “Resilience is, in fact, the most prominent theme to emerge from this year’s report, which we publish as an ongoing record of the investment climate within the Central City. It not only reflects the CBD’s economy over the past year, but it also acts as a strategic guide towards encouraging future investment in our downtown.

“With the urgency for cities worldwide to become resilient and play a meaningful role in the global Green Economy, this places our CBD and our City at the forefront of others leading the way, and is one of the reasons that Cape Town has been recognised, since 2016, as a member of the 100 Resilient Cities network.”

The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network was established by the Rockefeller Foundation, and recognises cities which prioritise building resilience to withstand future urban challenges. It defines urban resilience as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kind of chronic stress and acute shocks they experience”.

One such stress, which had a significant impact on Cape Town’s economy overall, was the water crisis of 2018 and the threat of a “Day Zero” – when the city’s taps would run dry.

Due to a strategic plan implemented by the City of Cape Town during 2018, and the concerted effort of its people and businesses to significantly reduce water consumption, Day Zero was not only averted but a new culture of water-saving was borne out of collective efforts to ensure the city would never run out of water.

Notes Kane: “To highlight just how remarkable an achievement this was, and by contrast, it took the city of Melbourne in Australia 12 years to achieve the same reduction after its own ‘Millennium Drought’ in 2000.”

In the foreword to the CCID’s publication, Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, notes: “I am proud of what both businesses and residents in Cape Town achieved during the recent drought – the worst on record. By working together to reduce our water-use, we helped build one of the most water-resilient destinations in the world. This will make our city even more attractive to investment and tourism, as the world collectively faces the challenge of climate change.”

The State of Cape Town Central City Report: 2018 – A year in review cites two significant property owners in the Central City – namely the First Rand group (with its Portside building, in Bree Street, housing the provincial headquarters of three of its divisions) and the Portside Body Corporate as among the first recipients to be certified.

Playing their role in the Green Economy of the Central City, the report also acknowledges the Virgin Active group, Growthpoint and Woolworths for having set targets towards net zero water, carbon neutrality and net zero waste.

Woolworths – with its national headquarters based in the heart of the CBD – is acknowledged as a “resilience case study”, due to its widely documented commitment to sustainability via its Good Business Journey platform. This focuses on various aspects of responsible business practices including the management of water, waste and energy, and recognises the impact of climate change, all of which are relevant to Cape Town’s positioning as a resilient city.

Likewise, the Cape Town International Convention Centre is also acknowledged in the report as a case study; over the past year, it has reduced its water consumption by 30% and diverted 84% of its waste from landfill. In addition, although its expansion early in 2018 led to a 16.7% rise in delegate and visitor numbers, its well-managed energy consumption experienced only a 1.6% increase from primary (fuel) sources.

Concludes Kane: “There has never been a more appropriate time for Central City businesses – as well as residents – to rethink how their own CBD will be able to assist the city to prepare itself against the shocks and stresses coming our way globally as the world evolves. We, therefore, commend those businesses that are already working towards ensuring Cape Town’s resilience, and who have embraced the concept of a Green Economy.”

Other features in the report include:

  • Breakdowns of all the business sectors in the Central City, including focus on specific sectors such as business process outsourcing, arts, retail and co-working sector
  • An in-depth look at the conferencing, eventing and visitor economy of the Central City
  • Average residential and commercial rentals.
  • A property investment map detailing the 38 locations of current construction sites as well as those of planned/proposed projects
  • A review of the effects of the 2018 drought and the implications for the overall resilience of Cape Town
  • Highlights from the CCID annual online residential and retail surveys.

Issued by Irvine Partners on behalf of Sharon Sorour-Morris, Communications Manager: Cape Town CCID

FOR ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES AND TO REQUEST INTERVIEWS:

Sharon Sorour-Morris
Manager: Communications
Central City Improvement District
sharon@capetownccid.org
082 216 0835