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Cape Town, WISP wins international urban innovation accolade

MAYORAL committee member for economic growth Alderman James Vos (left) and GreenCape chief executive Mike Mulcahy show off the award. Picture: City of Cape Town (CoCT).

MAYORAL committee member for economic growth Alderman James Vos (left) and GreenCape chief executive Mike Mulcahy show off the award. Picture: City of Cape Town (CoCT).

Published Jan 13, 2022

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town’s (CoCT) partnership with the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP) is internationally recognised, after being awarded the Medal of Honour in the fifth Guangzhou International Awards for Urban Innovation.

The Guangzhou Award recognises innovation in improving all spheres of modern life of a city – economic, social and environmental sustainability – thereby advancing the quality of life and prosperity of the city’s citizens, the award’s website reads.

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WISP is funded by the CoCT and connects businesses that have unused or residual resources with other businesses that can utilise those unused or residual resources, according to GreenCape.

WISP is a free facilitation service, and its symbiotic approach creates job opportunities, prevents environmental damage, and generates new revenue streams.

“I am exceptionally proud that the City’s partnership with and funding of GreenCape, for the implementation of WISP, has resulted in a successful model of economic and environmental sustainability, and that it is receiving a deserving level of global recognition,” Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic growth James Vos said.

Cape Town was shortlisted into the top 15, from 273 initiatives in 175 cities and local governments, from across the world.

The City was awarded a Medal of Honour since it did not make it into the top five – where recipients are awarded prize money, a trophy and a certificate.

The five cities that won the Guangzhou Awards were China’s Chongqing, the Union of Dannieh Municipalities in Lebanon, Ecuador’s Quito, Vienna in Austria; and Senegal’s Saint Louis.

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However, eight years of WISP saw 119 000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfills, 362 000 fossil greenhouse gas emissions saved, generated more than R134 million in financial benefits, as well as 69 permanent jobs in WISP member companies.

“A further 25 temporary positions and 265 economy-wide jobs in supply chains have been created,” according to CoCT.

Vos comments that WISP is an example of a simple idea – where companies use each others waste – that has massive impacts on job creation and the environment.

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