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Sustainability Rating Tools for Developing Countries


I have the privilege of meeting and working closely with a young bright energetic doctorate student from UKZN (Naomi Kingu) who like me shares a passion for driving sustainability in the civil engineering or infrastructure industry in developing countries. Her research has identified the need to adapt existing rating tools which have been created in a developed world context, to that relevant for developing countries. Of course, the argument that each country has specific challenges and needs holds true; however, it must also be acknowledged that the definition of sustainability in a developed world context must differ to that in a developing world context. Quite simply, projects in developing countries need to have a strong focus on socio economic issues – the South African Government is aware of this and have drafted numerous policies with the aim of improving socio-economic conditions in developing countries, but the implementation thereof seems to be lagging behind. This is perhaps aided by the lack of suitable rating tools which focus on the socio-economic needs of developing countries.


In reviewing some of Naomi’s work I have revisited the results that I attained during my Masters thesis on Sustainable Construction Practices in South Africa which I completed in 2012 (*** insert link to Masters presentation)… The interesting stats that came out of my research indicated that 96% of the respondents asked in my research questionnaire agreed that sustainable construction practices are important in developing countries and yet only 10% used rating tools on their projects to monitor sustainable construction practices. 50% of the respondents admitted to not measuring sustainability on their projects at all!


We are now in 2018 – some 6 years later – I wonder if the above stats would be any different now?!?!?

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Email: drew@ecoeng.co.za