Monday, 12 August 2013 10:41

Greening South Africa’s automotive industry

The National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa of South Africa (NCPC-SA) recently made headway in greening the local automotive component industry.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), South Africa’s automotive industry accounts for about 10% of the country’s manufacturing exports, making it a crucial part of the economy.

The National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) has been actively intensifying its efforts to assist the automotive (including automotive components) manufacturing industry in promoting more resource-efficient practices with a strong focus on energy-efficiency. It is involved in key sectors which were identified in the government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) as important drivers of industry competitiveness, economic growth and job creation.

The NCPC-SA offers resource-efficient and cleaner production (RECP) assessments, which include energy, material and water usage and waste management analysis and recommendations.

Manufacturers who have taken part in the RECP programme include lighting manufacturer Lumotech, alloy-wheel manufacturer Borbet South Africa, automotive coatings systems marketer and manufacturer Freeworld Automotive Coatings and automotive cast iron and aluminium power train component manufacturer, Autocast Port Elizabeth.

The assessments aim to ultimately assist companies in increasing production efficiency, improving the productive use of natural resources and increasing industry competitiveness.

In addition, in its focus on energy the NCPC-SA has been assisting in the implementation of energy-efficiency measures through the Industrial Energy Efficiency Project (IEE Project), which is jointly implemented by the NCPC-SA and UNIDO.

Case study: Johnson Matthey Johnson Matthey South Africa’s (JMSA) Johannesburg plant recently signed up with the IEE Project to be a candidate plant for the implementation of an ISO 50001 based energy management system (EnMS).

The following steps were taken to implement the EnMS:

• A specialist consultant was appointed to facilitate the EnMS.

• The existing management system and structures were reviewed.

• Two members of the energy team attended the IEE Project’s two-day advanced EnMS training.

• Extended existing structures were created to accommodate energy specifics, for example policies, procedures and sustainability teams and reporting.

• An energy team was appointed under the chairmanship of the engineering manager.

• Additional EnMS-specific management system components were compiled where required, including energy review procedures and records.

• An ISO 50001 management system internal audit was conducted.

• A management review was done.


Key findings:

The implementation of RECP methodologies and technologies has a direct and positive influence on the bottom line of a company The required implementations range from low and no cost steps (regarded as the “low hanging fruit”) to implementations that require significant retrofitting and capital expenditure. 

According the NCPC-SA, while a suite of incentive programmes from government can assist companies needing to make such changes, capital investment in infrastructure and technologies remains the single largest barrier to RECP uptake by industry.

Going forward, the NCPC-SA aims to facilitate more implementation and investment options: encouraging companies to respond by implementing the efficiency options in a phased and feasible way so as to realise the estimated savings and resource efficiency benefits.



Tel: +27 12 841 3772


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