About Us

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About Us

Mary Murphy

Mary has a BA (Hons) in Peace Studies from the University of Ulster, an MA in International Relations (Wits) and is presently working towards her PhD (Rhodes) in Environmental Education. Her thesis uses a semiotic framework to describe and explore environmental risk and adopts a critical realist approach to justify presenting the text as a story. She is publishing a book about environmental issues with Penguin books in November.  She taught an environmental education course at the University of Cape Town as part of the Bachelor of Education (Hons) degree in 2006. She trained as an ISO 14001 auditor and is trained to conduct carbon footprint assessments using the GHG Protocol.

Mary has 15 years’ experience in environmental education, research, media and solutions-based environmental approaches. She has been involved in numerous environmental projects, including the ‘plastic bag campaign’ with former Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa. She co-ordinated ‘EEFriends’ an environmental education network for three years, which included the WWF, IUCN, Table Mountain National Park, Provincial and Local government and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. She conceived and presented “Environmental Matters” on SAfm (104-107) every Monday at 8:30pm from August 2005 to March 2007.  She also worked with Robert Swan on Mission Antarctica.  She headed up the Findings Report team at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  She has lead research teams and produced reports for companies across a range of issues.

Mary is the co-founder and Managing Director of FullCycle, and a member and director of Carbon Countdown, which offer sustainability products, training and consulting. Their emphasis is on environmental tools, services and education; and sustainable strategy and implementation respectively. 

Existing Clients

Citadel; Peregrine; Sun International; Spier Wine Estate; Nedbank; Pick ‘n Pay;
Freshmark; Orient Express Group; Cybele Lodge; Al Jumeriah el Madinat


David Baxter

David graduated from Manchester University, England, with an Honours degree in Chemistry and a Masters degree in Molecular Engineering. To fulfil his interest in business, he worked in a leading UK retail company for six years.  He left England in 2002 to be part of South Africa’s growing democracy. He worked for one of South Africa’s premium brands, Woolworths, as a planning manager in the competitive and challenging Kidswear department.

His work at Woolworths and experiences in South Africa deepened his passion for nature and sustainability.  He decided to pursue his growing awareness for sustainability and recently completed his B.Phil (cum laude) at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch in Sustainable Development and Planning.  He is especially interested in the field of Corporate Responsibility and its link to Sustainable Development.  He has been appointed to the research panel for the JSE SRI Index for the year 2011.  David has also completed the Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) qualification based on the AccountAbility AA 1000 standards.

David is Managing Director of Carbon Countdown, which offer sustainability services, training and consulting. Their emphasis is on sustainable strategy and implementation.

Helen Turnbull

Helen’s first taste of Africa was at the age of thirteen when a work project brought her father and family from Europe for a five-year contract. After completing her high school education in the Northern Cape, Helen returned to Europe and worked in various sectors of the tourism industry, though the majority of the time was in aviation.  With easy access to international travel, it was an opportunity to see how other countries were developing their tourism industries, and with this came a powerful realisation that tourism could be a force for change and make a positive difference to a destination, or it could have a negative impact on host communities and biodiversity if managed irresponsibly. When Helen returned permanently to Cape Town in 2001, this philosophy was the inspiration for starting up her consultancy company ‘Serendipity Africa’, which focuses on raising awareness of sustainable tourism development. Services offered range from responsible tourism training and mentoring, marketing guidance and support, assistance with sustainable tourism development plans in specific geographical regions to encourage businesses to incorporate ethical principles into day-to-day operations. 


She is a member of the judging panel for ‘Imvelo’ – Southern Africa’s Responsible Tourism Awards, and is a qualified national trainer for Fair Trade Tourism South Africa (FTTSA). Helen is also a freelance travel writer and gets involved with media co-ordination to make sure the ‘good news’ stories get told. Her motto is making tourism work for people and the planet.  

 Clients include:

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve; Hog Hollow Country Lodge; Amakhala Game Reserve; Four Rosmead; Dyer Island Cruises & Marine Dynamics; Farm 215; !Khwa ttu San Culture Centre; Calabash Tours; The Dunes Country House & HillsNek Safaris; Storms River Adventures; African Insights; Face Africa;  National Department of Tourism; National Development Agency SA;  Green Goal 2010 Legacy Project; FTTSA; City of Cape Town

Published in Responsible Traveller, Africa Wild, Out There Adventure, Out There Travel and Travel Africa UK.



We work with individuals and organizations that specialise in Social Development and Sustainable Tools, Methodologies and Systems.


For information, comments or quotations contact us:

mary@carboncountdown.co.za                                 dave@carboncountdown.co.za

Cell: + 27(0) 82 782 9959                                 Cell: + 27(0) 83 267 7845