The move to make the clay brick industry increasingly sustainable has taken another step up with the development of a project designed to mitigate climate change, and ecological damage caused by the industry.

For more than a decade the Clay Brick Association of South Africa (CBA) has been actively working on ensuring the industry is not only the country’s most diverse rural employer, but that it is sustainable end energy efficient.

Following two recent projects the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln Project (VSBK) that ran from 2009 to 2013 and the Energy Efficient Clay Brick Project (EECB) that ran between 2013 and 2017, the CBA is now in the process of implementing a new overarching project for the promotion of sustainable practices in the clay brick sector. The project builds on the experience gained from the VSBK and EECB project and is co-funded by the European Union and will run from January 2018 till December 2020.

The overall objective is to promote inclusive sustainable practices for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the South African clay brick sector, and will be executed by means of four work packages (WPs) aimed at ‘empowering sector participants towards the transformation to more sustainable product practices’, ‘to promote sustainable building practices’, ‘to realise sector-based sustainability monitoring and reporting’ and to encourage ‘SCP awareness of the informal or small-scale brick-making sector’.

The projects will look at a series of separate, but interlinked, issues in the industry with a goal to refining each integrated aspect. It aims to reduce GHG emissions, reduce energy consumption, monitor and manage air pollution, reduce the use of water and the quantity of waste generated during production, to use natural resources in an efficient manner, minimise the impact on communities and wildlife, to facilitate equal employee development across race and gender and to continually ensure development across the whole sector regarding sustainability.

“The combined project team of the CBA, EM and PfI brings a set of diverse and combined skills to the project that enables them to executed the project in an efficient and effective manner and by doing so assist in moving the clay brick sector to be even more sustainable going into the next decade,” says Mariana Lamont, executive director of the CBA.