Neighbourhood News Update: World Environment Day – V&A Waterfront Sustainability Showcase


V&A Waterfront Overview:
The V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s leading destinations, attracting more than 24 million visitors each year. Our neighbourhood spans 123 hectares and blends residential, commercial, retail and leisure spaces. More than 800 tenants contribute to our ecosystem.

Since setting out on its sustainability journey in 2008, the V&A has become one of the greenest precincts in Africa, prioritising people and the planet. As a bustling mini-city, the V&A also embraces its role as a testing ground for innovative approaches and technologies aimed at tackling sustainability challenges head-on.

From renewable energy and water solutions to waste-reduction strategies, we’re constantly exploring new ways to minimise our environmental footprint while maximising our positive impact on the community.


  1. Portswood Café

    Portswood Café, one of our latest sustainability initiatives, is a zero-carbon café which challenges the definition of waste and traditional construction norms. It is crafted almost entirely from salvaged and upcycled waste materials from other projects across the precinct. Spanning 115m2, the café will be used by healthy, sustainable food brand Pure Good, embodying sustainability in action and inspiring a new era of conscious construction and consumption.
  2. Portswood Ridge

    Rated 6-star Office Design by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBSA), the country’s highest rating for a commercial building, Portswood Ridge represents the V&A’s determination to pioneer new standards in commercial office buildings.
    Serving as Deloitte’s regional headquarters, the building showcases a convergence of cutting-edge sustainable technologies, many of which are firsts for South Africa. Every aspect of the building is designed to minimise its environmental footprint while maximising occupant comfort and productivity. Portswood Ridge also exemplifies a holistic approach to water management and conservation. Through the collection and reuse of greywater and rainwater, coupled with the pioneering use of eco-bricks, the building sets a new standard for sustainable practices.
  3. Blackwater Treatment Plant

    In response to Cape Town’s 2017 water crisis, we introduced an innovative botanical feature aimed at recycling a portion of the precinct’s wastewater. An Organica Blue House outside the Victoria Wharf shopping centre provides a fully enclosed and odour-free environment combining conventional wastewater treatment technology with a botanic ecosystem. Organica uses plant roots that grow into the effluent, encouraging bacteria and living organisms to develop.
    The treated effluent from this system is used to flush the Victoria Wharf’s toilets, offering a potential saving of up to 5,000 kL of water per month. This holistic approach not only conserves water but also underscores our commitment to environmental sustainability, setting a precedent for responsible water management practices in urban settings.
  4. Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre

    The V&A’s Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre aims to curb the neighbourhood’s impact on overflowing landfills. It does so with the support of a neighbourhood-wide three-bin system, waste-tracking measures and incentives for tenants and visitors to segregate their waste.
    Once collected from the V&A’s 386 collection points and 550 bins, waste is separated. Food and garden waste is composted while recyclables are sent off-site for further processing. Of the 6,400tons of waste generated by the V&A annually, 62% is diverted from landfill.
  5. Desalination Plant

    The desalination plant at East Pier uses advanced reverse osmosis technology to make seawater safe for consumption. It will provide between 3.5 million and five million litres of water daily, taking the Waterfront off grid. By tapping into the renewable resource of seawater, the desalination plant is capable of meeting current and future demand, supporting our growing neighbourhood’s long-term resilience.
  6. Wind Turbines

    In a recent partnership with German wind turbine manufacturer LuvSide, the V&A has installed four LS Double Helix 1kW wind turbines in the Silo District and a 3Kw unit at Breakwater, Granger Bay District. During a year-long experiment, we will assess the turbines’ viability as a supplement to our energy infrastructure. Small, ground-level wind turbines hold immense promise for the generation of renewable energy, especially in urban settings.

Our Better Nature

Environmental sustainability is one of the cornerstones of how we collectively create this inspiring Waterfront neighbourhood. As we continue our journey in responsible development and adding magic to the spaces between our buildings and districts, we extend the invitation for collaboration with many partners across food, fashion & design clusters that exist within and outside our neighbourhood, to build on creative thinking and problem solving when it comes to ensuring a greener future. Our Better Nature is our platform for invitation and immersive, inspiring experiences that shift the needle in the human sentiment that the problem is beyond us. At the heart of community and human nature, is a desire to do our very best to protect and preserve, and this winter we shine a spotlight on this belief system. By collaboration with various partners & tenants we have designed a programme of experiences for visitors of all ages and interests to enjoy and be
inspired! Our Better Nature will be launched to the public in the next coming weeks!

About the V&A Waterfront
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 exists 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.