Abe Thela, the newly elected President of CESA launched the CESA Sustainability Framework that has been adopted as compulsory for membership of CESA, at the CESA AGM held at their annual conference in November at the Westin in Cape Town.  All member firms are now required to prepare a sustainability report as part of their annual declarations to CESAThela quoted Lee Scott, Wal-Mart CEO in his presentation, “Sustainability is the single biggest business opportunity of the 21st century….It will be the next source of competitive advantage.”

Member firms involved in the development of the framework include GIBB, Royal HaskoningDHV and UWP Consulting.  The report is aligned with international best practice (FIDIC) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  As far back as 2010 CESA defined its commitment to sustainability and would now like to encourage members to pro-actively integrate sustainability within their business structures.

A committee was formed to develop a CESA Sustainability and Reporting Framework that is both practical and implementable.  They were instructed to contextualise sustainability with regards to the consulting engineering industry and to align/base this Framework with international best practice. They were also to develop a streamlined reporting process - including defining necessary components of the process, a phased timeframe and a minimum requirements checklist.

The report is based on 3 pillars, namely Organisational Profile; Sustainability Strategy Overview and Acknowledging CESA Sustainability Indicators. The purpose of this Sustainability Framework is to encourage members to pro-actively integrate sustainability within their business structures. It aims to create a platform for member firms to identify their role with regards to sustainability and to create a culture of collaboration within the engineering sector related to sustainability.  The Minimum Requirement Checklist will assist member firms in collecting and recording data in order to streamline this process and obtain the necessary buy-in.

Thela states, “Sustainability will imply a mind-shift, however, it also brings numerous opportunities”.