We are also humbled and honoured to be in South Africa celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday coming up on 18 July. The Nelson Mandela Foundation continues his very important work on combatting poverty and improving human rights, which aligns with RSB’s Principle 4 on human and labour rights and Principle 5 on rural and social development.
In South Africa, the RSB partnered with Sunchem SA and SkyNRG who developed a novel energy tobacco crop called “Solaris”. Solaris is a traditionally cross-bred variety of tobacco that contains no nicotine, has high seed and limited leaf production compared to traditional tobacco. These normally undesirable traits make Solaris an ideal feedstock for biofuel production.
The crop is cultivated by smallholder and commercial farmers in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Solaris is an exciting crop because it provides an opportunity to grow sustainable bioenergy resources, while stimulating socio-economic development in South Africa.
The RSB continues to work with Boeing, WWF-SA and others on this project to help safeguard natural resources, water, and food for growing populations. WWF-SA is working with the RSB to ensure the environmental and social credentials of emerging biofuel value chains are adequate and trust-worthy as RSB is recognised as incorporating the highest sustainability demands for such projects.
The project was launched in Marble Hall in May 2014, with Solaris now scaled up in South Africa as a locally produced feedstock for sustainable biojet fuel production.
The RSB’s partner South African Airways recently celebrated Africa’s first sustainable biofuel flight (see above).
Stay tuned on this page for updates on RSB’s work with smallholders in Africa.
Watch a video prepared by the 5050 Community, featuring RSB’s Executive Director Rolf Hogan. It was broadcast in South Africa in March 2015.