Our Natural Capital

At SANBS we are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our activities – this is achieved by including environmental imperatives in SANBS’ strategy – execution of which is measured against our ‘Greening Strategy’ KPIs.

What natural capital means to SANBS

Our natural capital includes our environmental stewardship for both our internal operations and our products and services. Our internal aspirational targets assist in minimising our impact on natural resources, enhancing operational resilience against supply constraints.

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • We are committed to decrease wastage and promote appropriate use of blood

Focused efforts on reducing our carbon footprint

  • The SANBS Greening Task Team, continues to monitor, measure and introduce initiatives to minimise negative impacts on the environment, through 6 objectives:
    • Energy conservation
    • Optimisation of water consumption and conservation
    • Management of land and air pollution
    • Optimisation of procurement
    • Environmentally sustainable buildings
    • Environmentally conscious culture

Environmental imperatives as we manage our natural capital

For 2022–2023 SANBS’ overall carbon emission as presented from the data collected totals a net 16 511 tons (FY22:15 906). This is an overall increase of 3.80% on the previous year and a cumulative 9.41% decrease over the past three years.

Energy and carbon

Sustainability objective 1

Conserve energy

  • Reduce the carbon footprint, particularly electricity usage from the national grid
2022/2023 update
  • Carbon emissions
  • For 2023, the measured power consumption was 8.85kWh (FY22 9.59kWh), 7.72% lower than 2022
    • In Mount Edgecombe, solar energy complements power supplied. It produced 600 326kWh (FY22 694 750kWh) of power with a carbon saving of 618.3 tons (FY22:715.6 tons). The energy produced is lower than the previous FY primarily due to the damage caused to the system by the flooding experienced in Durban in April last year
    • Environmental awareness campaigns provided guidance on how to reduce power consumption
Progress against our objective
  • While reduction in energy consumption has been marginal, solar at Mount Edgecombe has set the precedent for further installations
  • LED light bulb installations were rolled out to additional sites
  • Electricity and other carbon statistics are published on the SANBS intranet site and accessible by all employees
  • Renovations to the SANBS Head Office building have been deferred while implementing BECS. Plans include solar generated power
Plans for 2023/2024
  • A solar feasibility assessment of the SANBS-owned sites was done and recommendations are planned over 2–3 years


Sustainability objective 2

Optimisation of water consumption and conservation

  • Reduce the consumption of water at all SANBS’ operations
  • Deploy rainwater harvesting technologies for SANBS-owned properties
  • Prevent or minimise disposal of trade effluent
2022/2023 update
  • At Head Office, borehole consumption was 5 377kl (FY22:4 351kl), with estimated savings of R 236 508 (FY22: R144 000)
  • The borehole at Mount Edgecombe generated approximately 2 205kl (FY22: 1 921kl) and savings of R93 119 (FY22: R76 000).
  • The borehole at the Gqeberha Zone headquarters, commissioned in March 2023, generated approximately 18kl and a saving of R777
  • R330 404 was saved as a result of borehole consumption over FY23. This amounts to a 7 600kl savings
Progress against our objective
  • Reducing water consumption has been limited, but, an additional borehole water tank will redirect water to the garden irrigation system
  • In the Eastern Cape, a borehole was installed at the Zone headquarters in Gqeberha
Plans for 2023/2024
  • Plans for the installation of another 10 – 12 boreholes are already at an advanced stage

Land and air pollution

Sustainability objective 3

Manage land and air pollution

  • Waste will be managed in a sustainable manner following the waste hierarchy of prevention, reuse, recycle, recovery and disposal, to reduce the waste discarded in landfills and resultant carbon emissions
  • Reduce the use of fossil fuels for personal and business travel
  • Dispose of all electronic waste according to the Electronic Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) guideline
  • Reduce paper use and ensure spent cartridges are recycled
  • Prevent or minimise noise and air pollution
2022/2023 update
  • Significant efforts to improve recording of waste data has enabled us to better manage and control our waste outputs
General waste
  • A service provider separates general waste for recycling and minimal landfill disposal
  • While 33 tons of carbons were saved (an increase of 39% over the previous FY), recyclable waste has increased considerably by 43% (156 tons) (FY22:109 tons). Contamination of recyclable waste has resulted in nearly 88 tons sent to landfill. Measures are being implemented to create further awareness on the need for better separation of recyclable waste at source
Flight travel
  • Carbon emissions from business related flights (242 tons) is higher than the previous year (111 tons), which was attributable to increased travel post the lifting of pandemic induced travel restrictions and international flights resumed
Road travel
  • Road travel comprises the use of couriers to deliver blood and blood products. It also includes the SANBS fleet to transport employees to donor clinics and to fetch collected blood for testing and processing as well as mileage claimed by employees for the use of their own vehicles for business purposes
  • There was a slight increase of 1.49% in the transportation of blood and an increase of 17.1% in the use of the SANBS fleet and mileage claims by employees, resulting from the return to business as usual after the pandemic
  • Printing volumes have decreased when compared to the previous financial year, resulting in a net impact on the environment of 55 109kg (FY22: 62 990kg)
  • By implementing duplex printing, we have contributed to saving nearly 428 cedar trees (FY22:400)
Progress against our objective
  • The overall emission has decreased by 3.98% (FY22: 12.7%). While there has been an increase in diesel consumption to power generators during loadshedding and increased local and international flights, there has been a marked decrease in the courier mileage travelled and energy consumption at our sites
Plans for 2023/2024
  • Identify reasons for the majority of recyclable waste sent to landfill
  • Continued focus on analysis of data gathered to date to identifying improvement initiatives


Sustainability objective 4

Optimise procurement

  • Ensure that the products and services procured for SANBS are as sustainable as possible, with the lowest environmental impact
2022/2023 update
  • Fewer new initiatives were undertaken to optimise our green “procurement” but we continue to purchase energy efficient computers, recycle paper and invest in more fuel-efficient vehicles
Plans for 2023/2024
  • The Executive: Corporate Services will drive plans to engage key vendors to explore opportunities to reduce carbon emissions along the entire supply value chain

Green building

Sustainability objective 5

Green building

  • Ensure that all SANBS-owned buildings are built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way
  • The Mount Edgecombe site is a certified as a 5 Star Green building
  • This site also achieved the NET ZERO accreditation from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
2022/2023 update
  • Upgrading of Constantia Kloof has been deferred until the focus on BECS reduces
Plans for 2023/2024
  • Plans for re-zoning and upgrading of our offices and laboratories in Constantia Kloof, and replicating greening initiatives implemented at Mount Edgecombe

Culture change

Sustainability objective 6

Culture change

  • SANBS operations are undertaken in a sustainable manner by environmentally conscious SANBS employees
2022/2023 update
  • A Greening dashboard was implemented and updated quarterly
  • Environmental awareness campaigns are undertaken by the Safety and Environment department
Plans for 2023/2024
  • Continue to monitor and reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment and identify areas for improvements