SAB and Department of Environmental Affairs announce Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year Awards

Johannesburg, 24 October 2017


Endurance swimmer and tireless advocate for the world’s oceans, Lewis Pugh has been named the South African Breweries (SAB) Environmentalist of the Year at the SAB Environmental Media Awards 2017.

Now in its 29th year, the awards were started by the late conservationist Dr. Ian Player, to recognise members of the media who have excelled in reporting on environmental matters in Video, Audio and Written Media as well as Photography over the past year.

Competition for the 2017 awards was stiff, with more than 200 entries received.

During the awards, SAB and the national Department of Environmental Affairs joined forces to highlight some of the critical environmental issues facing South Africa. One such a critical is climate change, which the Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa says it’s probably the greatest threat to our world at present.

“If the world is to achieve the goal set in Paris of limiting global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius in pursuit of efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius   it is urgent that ambition gaps be closed – thus the importance on ongoing international collaboration and talks on ways to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate,” said Minister Molewa.

South Africa will participate in the forthcoming 23rd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany, under the presidency of Fiji. The conference is set to take place from 6 to 17 November 2017.

David Hauxwell, Vice President of Procurement and Sustainability at AB InBev Africa and SAB, said climate change is one of the most pressing issues confronting our planet. “As a multinational organisation, SAB and AB InBev are committed to the responsible use of global resources and doing what we can to minimise the impact of our operations to protect the planet for future generations.”

“The media plays a critical role in highlighting the critical environmental issues facing the plant, and we are proud to have sponsored these Awards for the past 29 years,” he said.

The Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year acknowledges individuals who have gone above and beyond to look after the environment.

“As United Nations Patron of the Oceans, Pugh plays a critical role in in generation global attention for oceans, combining a unique method of campaigning through swimming and high-level diplomacy,” said Robyn Chalmers, Director Communications, AB InBev Africa and SAB. Pugh received a R25 000 cash prize.

The winners of the SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year 2017 are:


Winner: Mark Olalde, Oxpeckers Centre for Investigative Environmental Journalism

Merit winners: Sipho Kings, Mail & Guardian and Sheree Bega, Saturday Star                      


Winner: Jay Caboz, Forbes Africa

Merit winners: Susan Scott, Scott DeBod Films and Sandile Ndlovu, The Sowetan

VIDEO MEDIA          

Winner: Sasha Schwendenwein, Carte Blanche

Merit winners: Carol Albertyn, Carte Blanche and Anne-Marie van Niekerk, Carte Blanche

AUDIO MEDIA          

Winner: Minoshni Pillay, SABC Radio

Merit winners: Reginald Witbooi, SABC Radio and Monique Mortlock, EWN

There was no winner for the Macqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Cub Award for environmental journalists with less than two years' experience in the industry as the judges felt that the usually-high standard for this category wasn’t met this year, but were encouraged with the potential shown by the entrants.

All category winners received R25 000.00 while merit winners received R3 000.00

“Entries this year were of an extremely high standard and we congratulate all our winners. SAB is proud to recognise the media’s essential role in creating greater awareness of environmental issues with the ultimate aim of ensuring that more people are knowledgeable about environmental issues facing the planet,” Chalmers said.

Besides hosting the environmental awards, SAB takes its sustainable development seriously and constantly works on improving its practices.

SAB and AB InBev have combined best practices and the finalised sustainable development strategy will be announced early next year.

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Note to editor

2017 Judging panel:


  • Katy Katopodis is the EWN group editor-in-chief.


  • Derek Watts, from Carte Blanche
  • Ntokozo Mbuli, from 50/50
  • Ozayr Patel, The                     


  • Jonathan Fairbairn, from Radio 702
  • Melini Moses, from SABC Radio
  • Noko Makgato, from Africa Check             


  • Steve Lawrence, heads up Steve Lawrence Productions
  • Darryl Hammond, from The Sowetan
  •  Masi Losi, heads up Losi Media     


  • Fiona McLeod, Founder and Head of Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism
  • Lucas Ledwaba, Founder and Editor at Mukurukuru Media Enterprise
  • Charlie Matthews, Creative Director at                                                                                                                                          

For further information

Azure Janneker - SAB
Cell: 079 505 6966 /

Albi Modise – Spokesperson for Department of Environmental Affairs
Cell: 083 490 2871 /

Issued jointly by SAB and the Department of Environmental Affairs