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Leena Ackbar, the Managing Director of ECA Consulting, is on a mission to ensure sustainability and environmental protection in South Africa

ECA Consulting is a professional environmental service provider which undertakes Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and other legislated environmental approval processes to ensure that development aligns with the principles of sustainability and complies with South Africa’s environmental law—from concept to completion.

While most businesses understand the importance of conserving the country’s natural resources and ensuring sustainable development, it cannot be understated how important it is to partner with the right company to manage your environmental footprint. Not only is this beneficial for the environment, but it is immensely positive for the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit.

Leena Ackbar, the Managing Director of ECA Consulting, states: ”At ECA Consulting, we can expertly guide you on the environmental approvals required for your business or development idea and facilitate these processes with ease and confidence.

”We are also a Level 1 BBBEE contributor and an exempt micro enterprise—so we can partner on as a Contract Participation Goal (CPG) company. We offer an expert and professional environmental service in the suite of environmental tools to help businesses operate sustainably.”

South Africa has one of the most encompassing constitutions in the entire world and an excellent set of environmental auspices under the National Environmental Act. However, there is work to be done in bringing everyone up to speed on what is required—particularly new businesses.

Ackbar explains: ”We see larger organisations on the upward trend complying with legislation and voluntary approvals. Such corporate behaviour creates a reputation of environmental responsibility and tells consumers that you are a company with a conscience. However, we do face a dichotomy with emerging and developing companies that are yet to understand the importance of environmental compliance and sustainability.

”I think with the current environmental issues we are facing such as climate change, plastic pollution, and an overall larger ecological footprint per person, we ought to be taking more of a stance on waste minimisation and pollution prevention. Firming up existing legislation and introducing incentives would certainly support this paradigm shift.”

A major issue we face as a country right now is the dreaded loadshedding. While there may be no end in sight to this national disaster, every bit helps when it comes to assisting in relieving the energy crisis.

This is a current focus of ECA Consulting, as they are currently leading the environmental approvals process for a number of major infrastructure and energy projects throughout South Africa.

”It is noteworthy that we are involved in projects that have the potential to relieve the energy crisis we are currently facing, whilst other projects allow for the sustainable expansion of our local and international trading platform in KwaZulu-Natal,” she reveals.

In terms of what is to come from ECA Consulting, Ackbar is determined to start bridging the skills development gap, while at the same time pushing more and more to help in the battle against our nation’s energy crisis.

”We have proudly grown in the environmental field to practice across all major provinces in South Africa, whilst working with some of the country’s major role players. In 2023, we are looking forward to the roll out of more energy projects and plan on tapping into Sustainability Consulting. We have identified a gap that currently exists between tertiary education and workplace skills, so this year we plan on creating more opportunities for mentoring aspiring Environmental Assessment Practitioners by creating platforms for training and engagement with expertise in the field,” Ackbar says.

The ultimate goal is to create a recognised qualification which will further strengthen the industry—an aspect which has been lacking for far too long.

”We would love to be involved in skills training and development by working with tertiary institutions in creating the first ever degree in Environmental Assessment Practice. Currently, there is no formal degree or training to become an Environmental Assessment Practitioner—the skills we apply we have borrowed from our pure science background and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL),” Ackbar concludes.

This would be a major flip for the industry and another notch on the belt for the already impressive ECA Consulting.

By Editor