Co-designing solutions through green economy partnerships
The premise that underpins most definitions for “green economy” is that economic progress can happen without depleting natural resources. Environmental sustainability makes business sense.
Partnerships and collaborations enable the removal of barriers to green economy growth. Barriers could be anything from outdated legislation, or new standards and approaches, to skills for future green jobs. Over the past 10 years GreenCape, a PBO, has focussed on growing the green economy in South Africa, leveraging an eco-system of partners to unblock systems and barriers, contributed to attracting more than R42 billion worth of investment, creating more than 19 000 jobs in the green economy. The sectors that GreenCape works in include energy, water, sustainable agriculture and circular economy (including industrial symbiosis), with cross-cutting projects that also focus on green finance and alternative service delivery.
Being at the nexus of academia, business and government provides the opportunity to share insights that benefit the business of green. Insights are shared through the publishing of in-depth annual market intelligence reports per sector, industry briefs and case studies, as well as through direct sector support engagements with tens of thousands of government and business stakeholders every year.
SMMEs are often the catalysts driving the development and adoption of cleantech innovation that can solve some of the challenges faced by the country, like energy insecurity, water scarcity and struggling municipal waste management services.
Through initiatives like the Green Outcomes Fund, NBI’s Climate Finance Accelerator and the Solar Impulse Foundation’s 1 000 efficient solutions label, GreenCape is working closely with national and international partners to support local green SMMEs so that cleantech innovation can scale both in SA and Internationally. The Empire building challenge is a good example of this, where South African companies can participate in a 50m USD challenge to retrofit 10 high-rise building in New York. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom supported the development of the Green Business Support Services Directory. This portal is dedicated to the open-source digital directory of green business support services in South Africa. The digital directory is a free public resource and consists of information on services, programmes and opportunities available to entrepreneurs in the green economy.
South Africa is rich in ingenuity, and the country has an abundance of natural resources that can be harnessed to grow the economy in a manner that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.