Photo: Alice Lane.
Virgin Active South Africa has partnered with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) to sponsor a Net Zero Rating Tool. Committed to ZERO environmental impact by 2030 across its 143 clubs in Southern Africa, the health club group is already making operational changes to reduce water consumption and waste; switching to renewable energy to drive down carbon emissions; and eliminating solid waste by recycling.
Ross Faragher-Thomas, MD in South Africa said, ‘’This long-term partnership with GBCSA is a key driver that will steer our sustainability journey. It is imperative that businesses assume a leadership position and conduct operations in an environmentally-responsible manner. The Net Zero Standard and Certification path adds a level of accountability for us.”
The brand will use the tool to drive awareness on an operational level at 143 clubs, enabling a rating at each individual club across the different net zero categories of carbon, water, waste and ecology.
Tackling climate change requires collective effort, and the GBCSA has added this pilot rating tool to its stable to raise awareness of the importance of businesses making operational changes and applying for ratings according to water, waste, carbon and ecology.
“GBCSA is thrilled to have Virgin Active South Africa come on board as the first Net Zero sponsor, an organisation that is committed to demonstrating their commitment to sustainability by having their sites independently assessed against the GBCSA’s Net Zero standard – this is an incredible commitment, and the GBCSA congratulates Virgin Active on this bold, positive step,” commented Manfred Braune, Executive Director of Certifications, Green Building Council South Africa.
Further to this sponsorship, the health club group has committed to setting company-wide emissions targets in line with climate science. From the date of signature, they will have 24 months to calculate carbon emissions and submit targets. Science-based targets will ensure that Virgin Active South Africa’s journey to low carbon is aligned with climate science.
Science Based Targets is a collaboration between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), World Resources Institute (WRI), the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and a global call to action to collectively reduce the average temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. And this is what Virgin Active has committed to, to hold themselves publicly accountable.
Alongside the Net Zero ratings, the group will continue to evaluate the environmental efficiency of their club interiors. Recently, Virgin Active Collection Silo District at the V&A Waterfront was awarded a 4 Star Green Star SA rating. This certification is the third for them, following Alice Lane and Menlyn Maine, and is testament that not only are these clubs distinct from a design perspective, but also provide a healthy workout environment in which to achieve fitness goals.