Panel Discussion: How can business & municipalities cooperate in reducing the impacts on climate change?

The challenge of dealing with climate change is fraught with conflict and contradictions.

It is common for business to expect that the lead will come from Government in the form of policies, regulations and incentives / penalties and then to complain that these impositions are harmful to economic wellbeing.

Conversely, business is often accused of being myopically concentrating on short term profit without concern for the longer term implications of their actions.

Given that climate change mitigation is a classic opportunity to “Think Big and Act Locally” it is pertinent to discuss how we can improve the levels of trust and cooperation between Municipalities and Business in order to address the common threat of negative climate change.


Engen Petroleum Ltd Conference Centre, Ground Floor
Engen Court, Thibault Square
Corner of Riebeeck and Long Street

Key Speakers

Panel Members:

Rob Fiander, Technical Services Manager, Mount Nelson Hotel

1973 Electrical apprenticeship in the UK, then into facilities at the Port of Felixstowe for 15 years (the UK’s largest container port) . Arrived to RSA in 1993. Completed ZA trade test and 0142 regulations obtained a wiremans licence. Created a successful water company in Kwa Zulu Natal supplying 150 people. Opened an electrical contracting business, Purchased a mixed production Farm in Eston (Natal). In 2000 moved to Cape Town, completed my Facilities management Degree. Opened a property inspection company, appointed Electrical compliance and safety officer at Bishops Diocesan college for two years. Appointed Contracts and utilities manager at Canal Walk shopping Centre for three years. Now Chief engineer at the Mount Nelson Hotel and two other facilities in Africa. Eight years in this position with many cost saving environmental initiatives implemented. Personal: Passionate about exploring out of the box ideas in reducing energy consumption. Vision for the future: PV cells and electrical storage advancement.

Justin Smith, Head of Sustainability, Woolworths Group

Justin Smith is Head of the Woolworths Good Business Journey (Sustainability Programme) and is responsible for the strategy, structure and integration across the business to deliver its over 200 targets across transformation, social development, environmental issues and climate change. Woolworths was named International Responsible Retailer of the year in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Justin was previously employed at the Nedbank Group, as Head of Governance and Sustainability as well as Operational Head of Enterprise Governance and Compliance within Nedbank’s Enterprise Governance and Compliance cluster; as an associate in Edward Nathan and Friedland (Pty) Ltd Environmental Law and Sustainability Services department; and as a risk manager at Standard Bank Group Risk Management. Justin is previous Co-chair of United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiatives Africa, a member of the National Business Initiative Western Cape Board and a trustee on the Table Mountain Fund.

He holds a B Comm Law (cum Laude) ; LLB degree (cum Laude); B Comm Honours in Financial Management (cum Laude) (All University of Pretoria) and LLM (University of South Africa (UNISA) – Environmental law, International Economic Law, and International law.

Sarah Ward, Head: Energy & Climate Change, City of Cape Town

Sarah Ward is a South African urban planner and has worked since 1986 in urban planning, housing, and urban and national energy planning and implementation. She was a founder of the Development Action Group and of Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) where she was a director from 1995 to 2005. SEA works with South African cities in sustainable energy planning and implementation.

Since 2008 Sarah has been employed as the head of Energy and Climate Change for the City of Cape Town where she has been developing the institutional space to drive this new area, and leading a number of core projects such as a city-wide electricity saving campaign, energy efficiency projects in council operations and a large scale solar water heater roll out programme. She has also overseen an in-depth energy data and energy futures modelling study for the city to inform forward planning. She is a member of the Cape Town Climate Change Think Tank.

She is the author of The New Energy Book (2008) (published by SEA) and has co-authored a number of manuals on sustainable urban energy planning, including Sustainable Energy Planning for cities in developing countries (2010) (UNEP, ICLEI). Most recently she co-edited Climate change at the city scale (2012) (published by Routledge).

Dave Wright, Senior Advisor, Engen Petroleum Limited

Dave Wright is the Senior Advisor to the MD and CEO of Engen Ltd, a refining and marketing oil business that holds the major market share in South Africa and is growing into sub Saharan Africa. Prior to this position, Dave held three other General Manager positions.

Dave trained as a chemical engineer and, in the first 15 years of his career, was an academic in chemical engineering at the University of kwaZulu Natal. In 1989 he moved into industry, joining Engen in 1991 at the Durban refinery. After 5 years as Technical Manager, Dave moved to strategy development in Cape Town.

In 2012, he was appointed as the Secretary General of the SA National Energy Association (SANEA) which is the World Energy Council (WEC) membership body in South Africa. Also in 2012 the Dept of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town appointed Dave as an Adjunct Professor.