17 September 2013

South Africa: Maropeng Visitor Centre gets Fair Trade Tourism-certification

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African NGO that encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities, just announced that Maropeng has joined the list of FTT-certified businesses. Maropeng is the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind, one of only eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa– and the only one in Gauteng. Maropeng and the Cradle of Humankind are located about 50km northwest of Johannesburg.
As part of its greening initiatives, Maropeng has constructed an ozone waste-water purification system at the Sterkfontein Caves, which uses ozone from the atmosphere to accelerate the breaking down of solids by bacteria; as well as to sterilise water.
Another water management initiative is an artificial wetland system, called a Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland System (SSF CWS) at Maropeng's Visitor Centre. The wetland has been specially designed to naturally assist in the filtering and cleansing of the site’s grey and black water.
Other green projects close to Maropeng's eco-friendly heart include biodegradable packaging and eating utensils, the rechargeable torch batteries used by Maropeng's tour guides, conference notepads and pencils made using recycled paper, low-energy lighting and a variety of preservation efforts to protect indigenous fauna and flora in the area. (via Fair Trade Tourism)
Fair Trade Tourism's (FTT) certification programme, which was recently outsourced to FLO-Cert, is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

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