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Cape Town - An initiative aimed at pointing people towards restaurants, accommodation establishments and other services that espouse eco-friendly practices is beginning to find favour among businesses.

Eco Atlas seeks to be an “all-inclusive ethical directory” to empower both locals and tourists to make informed choices.

Eco Atlas directs people to places where, for example, they might enjoy free-range eggs for breakfast, or support managements that practise recycling.


Using the 30 “Eco Choice” icons, people are able to see at a glance who is achieving sustainable goals,.

The search function on the website,, inspires visitors to source locally produced and “Earth-friendly” produce and products.

The concept is the brainchild of Plettenberg Bay environmentalist Rhian Berning.

“I began Eco Atlas a year ago, very much because on a personal level I wanted to know what I was eating, and whether it was ethical,” Berning said.

“I am a mother of two, and wanted to ensure my kids were living a good, healthy and ethical life.”

Berning has the support of Fairtrade South Africa, as well as the Sustainable Tour Partnership Programme.

“I believe the concept is the only one of its kind in Africa. Because I am from Plett, most of the businesses that have signed on are from the Garden Route, but I am also getting interest from Cape Town, Mpumalanga and Johannesburg.

“The point is that anyone can sign on. If you are a lawyer who recycles, then Eco Atlas is also available to you. South Africa is still catching up in terms of environmental and ethical consciousness, but I can see the passion is growing.


“Consumers can write a review on the website, and this will assist others in making their choices..”

Since its inception, subscription to Eco Atlas has been free, but from next year Berning will be asking a R60 monthly fee to cover administration costs. - Weekend Argus