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The City of Cape Town has been awarded a Medal of Honour in the fifth Guangzhou International Awards for Urban Innovation for its partnership with the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme, delivered by GreenCape.


Western Cape, South Africa (14 January 2022) – The awards recognise the innovation that improves social, economic and environmental solutions in cities and regions. The City-funded programme was recognised for developing mutually profitable links between companies across industrial sectors so that under-utilised and waste resources from one business can be recovered, reprocessed and re-used by others.

It’s a solution that allows participating businesses to cut costs, improve processes, create new revenue streams and job opportunities, all while positively impacting the environment through the re-purposing of waste.

“I am exceptionally proud that the City’s partnership with and funding of GreenCape for the implementation of Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP) has resulted in a successful model of economic and environmental sustainability and that it is receiving a deserving level of global recognition,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy said that through the programme, his organisation has facilitated successful synergies in the food, textile and manufacturing industries.

“Our WISP team at GreenCape reaches out to businesses and industry, sets up meetings and site visits and, finally, facilitates the business relationship. The programme shows that Cape Town is a leader in developing a circular economy,” said Mulcahy.

The City was shortlisted in the Top 15 earlier this year, out of 273 initiatives from 175 cities and local governments in 60 countries and regions.

“WISP is an example of the impact of simple yet innovative solutions that create jobs and a cleaner environment,” said Alderman Vos.

Over the last eight years, WISP has resulted in:

  • 119 000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfills;
  • 362 000 fossil greenhouse gas emissions saved (equivalent to the annual electrical usage of 46 600 households in SA);
  • Over R134 million generated in financial benefits (additional revenue, cost savings and private investments);
  • 69 permanent jobs in member companies, as well as 25 temporary positions and 265 economy-wide jobs in supply chains, have been created.

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Sources: City of Cape Town 
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