The Uitenhage-Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI) was last week named the Top Small Organisation with Low Environmental Impact at the acclaimed Eastern Cape Top Green Organisation Awards.
Hosted by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in East London last week on Thursday, the Top Green Organisation Awards are aimed at recognising and showcasing the achievements of organisations that comply with legislation governing broad environmental management compliance and green economy initiatives.
A first-time entrant, UDDI was commended for its innovative work in the conversion of illegal dumpsites into eco-hubs. Additionally, the accolade was in recognition of the UDDI’s use of its Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre as a hub to incubate innovative skills and solutions aimed at developing and empowering learners, educators and the community at large.
“With this award, UDDI joins anelite group of green innovators such as the Volkswagen Group South Africa. Receiving the award will encourage UDDI partners to invest heavily into the organisation’s green initiatives and projects. We base our programmes on the community’s needs and we work with these communities in crafting programmes that will address these needs to create a sense of ownership.
“The notion of responsible sustainable development should not remain at discussion levels or at organisation strategies, but clear initiatives must be driven holistically throughout the organisation. Leaders who consciously prioritise the delivery of “the social dividend” to the communities they operate in emulate the kind of leadership that our continent needs. The UDDI top leadership champions this and fully supports the core team responsible for environment and greening initiatives,” says UDDI chief executive officer Patricia Dlamini.
Dlamini, who received the award on behalf of UDDI, says the organisations three business focus areas are aimed at ensuring that all the pillars of the ecosystem are taken into account to ensure an effective and socially equitable business environment that has long term sustainability at the centre of all its development initiatives.
Dlamini says executive management took a conscious decision to introduce practices that support sustainability within the organisation.
“Not only has the UDDI established mini eco-hubs at schools to promote recycling and food security; but we have since partnered with organisations such as the Waste Trade Company to incentivise the collection and processing of waste, adding value to it, says UDDI project manager Wandisile Makwabe.
Makwabe says UDDI programmes are broadly based on economically viable production systems, being socially acceptable and accountable, ensuring the protection of natural resources and strict prevention of water and soil degradation as well as maintenance and enhancement of production and services. As such, the UDDI plans to incorporate the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) into the organisation’s environmental protection policy.
Highlighting the need to address pressing issues around environmental management within communities, Makwabe says the community needs support in ensuring that there is tutelage with regards to the protection of the environment and the need to produce food through sustainable means.
“It is thus a necessity for authorities to provide continued support to community-driven initiatives such as that of the UDDI, so as to promote development and sustenance within these communities,” Makwabe explains.