The V&A Waterfront embraces sustainability


Since 2008, the V&A Waterfront has invested R45 million into energy efficiency, water savings and waste recycling across this 123-hectare property. It has also introduced a number of other greening initiatives across the precinct.

The aim of the shareholders is for the entire operation to be environmentally sustainable, to improve efficiency, and to save costs. Included in this are changes to electricity tariff structures, power, lighting and temperature control.

Aligning our efforts to the global sustainable development goals

The V&A Waterfront is an iconic mixed-use destination located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. With Table Mountain as its backdrop, the 123-hectare neighbourhood sits within the beautiful city of Cape Town, welcoming millions of people from all over the continent and the rest of the world. The V&A is a symbol of heritage and diversity, where people from all walks of life can play, live, shop, dine and work while immersed in the vibrant spirit and authentic local culture that thrives in this bustling ecosystem. It sees its role on the continent to be a platform that facilitates and champions art and design, to support entrepreneurship and innovation, lead the charge on sustainability, and drive positive social and economic change. By prioritising people and the planet, the V&A is an example of how working with communities, respecting the environment and operating with passion and integrity is a better, more productive and kinder way of doing business.

The organisation sees for itself the opportunity to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, in alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Goals.

More about the V&A’s Sustainability Policy.

Water saving initiatives

In 2008, water-saving initiatives were introduced which include water-efficient toilets and urinals, water-sensor taps in all bathrooms, drip irrigation and variable irrigation times.

Stringent measures have been implemented in order to save water, and since 2010 water use by the V&A Waterfront has been cut by 53%.

This was achieved by:

· installing water meters in all tenant premises;

· a move to drip irrigation;

· use of borehole and grey water for toilets, cleaning and irrigation;

· proactive pressure management and aggressive leak detection.

Further measures which have been introduced, or are being introduced, include the following:

· Reducing water pressure throughout the property;

· Cutting water to all taps, bar one, in each of the public bathrooms, and making hand sanitisers available;

· Adjusting the sensor timings on all taps to a minimum and installing an aerating water-restrictor on each tap;

· Installing a grey water system in the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre in November 2017, which uses the air conditioning cooling tower bleed-off to flush toilets;

· Using sea-water cooling in all of the air-conditioning plants in the Silo District buildings, and connecting the Clock Tower buildings to sea water cooling at the end of 2017;

· Using air-cooled chillers in the development at Waterway House instead of using potable water;

· Using filtered sea water for the scrubbing of very dusty areas (such as the new parking garages).

Energy saving

· Light specification for all new developments

· Installation of electricity meters in all tenants’ premises and new building specification

· Analysis of data on a more frequent basis

· Seawater cooling of buildings; more efficient chillers

· Pre-cooling of buildings

· Light sensors upgrade and installation on all bathrooms across the precinct

· Convert floodlights to LED’s

· Specifying of latest generation refrigerants on new HVAC equipment

Waste management

· Bi-annual tenant inspections focusing on recycling and waste management

· Diverting 60% of waste produced to Landfill by end of 2019

· Investigating alternatives to landfill

Sustainability ratings

· V&A Waterfront has been named as one of the environmentally greenest precincts in Africa.

· Pre-certified credits awarded to be applied during all new future ratings

· Vic Wharf existing building Green star 5-star rating awarded beginning 2020

· Net Zero ratings to be applied for all future developments

· To attain Diamond status- Heritage rating which was achieved in 2019

· Output of previous target set under Energy, water & waste management- A total Carbon Emissions saving of 40% year of year

Eliminating single-use plastic

· Elimination of plastic straws

· Reducing of single use water bottles by 20% by 2021


The V&A Waterfront is committed to establishing, promoting, maintaining and improving a culture of economic, social and environmental sustainability and responsibility through all of its stakeholders. It is committed to best sustainable practice in all of these spheres.

The CSI strategy aligns the internal values and strategy of the business with key issues affecting social, economic and environmental development, both locally and globally. It supports the National Development Plan (NDP) within the local context, and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development on an international level.

The V&A Waterfront however recognises that the lives of those who are disadvantaged cannot be improved by investing in philanthropic causes alone. It therefore places the emphasis on entrepreneurship and social innovation, and by means of this strategy is able to create more opportunities for small businesses, to encourage both sustainable economic growth as well as meaningful job creation.

The key development programmes are as follows:

The Watershed & Workshop 17

150 small businesses are housed in the Watershed, which focuses on art, craft and design. Workshop 17 is a co-working space which is available to entrepreneurs and innovators to be inspired, collaborate and create in order to boost the building of new businesses focused on Africa.

The V&A Waterfront Buskers Programme

The V&A holds workshops for buskers on business acumen and musical development and also support events and provide material support to buskers.

Economic empowerment through supplier and enterprise development

Our supplier empowerment project aims to provide entrepreneurs and small businesses (QSE and EME) the training and development needed to become fully independent, established and sustainable businesses.

The V&A Community Programme deals with once-off requests, and disaster relief, and also supports several organisations and community service initiatives, such as the SPCA, Relate Bracelet, 67 Blankets, The Haven, Habitat for Humanity, Ikamva Labantu, The Lalela Project, The Peninsula School Feeding Scheme, and Thula Thula.

The V&A Waterfront Staff Community project allows for staff to apply for funding for projects they are equally passionate about or involved in within their respective communities.

Small Business Development is the V&A Waterfront’s biggest focus and opportunities are created for young entrepreneurs by means of kiosks in the Victoria Wharf, spaces at the V&A Food Market, and support of the Oranjezicht Farm Market.

The objectives of our CSI strategy are:

· Being an enabler for economic growth

· Driving meaningful job creation

· Creating social value, contributing to nation building and social cohesion

· Ensuring environmental sustainability and resilience