SA aims to boost green economy

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 Nov 2011

South Africa will launch an ambitious project aimed at boosting its “green” economy and reducing the country’s carbon footprint during the United Nations Climate Change Conference starting in Durban on 28 November.

The South African Renewables Initiative (SARi), set to be unveiled at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will seek to catalyse the growth of a “green” industry through the financing of large-scale renewable generation capacity.

“SARi presents a key element in ensuring that South Africa meets the emissions targets set by President Jacob Zuma who, at COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, committed South Africa to reducing its emissions trajectory to 34% below business as usual by 2020, and to 42% by 2025,” Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said last week.

An integral part of South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, SARi will help to develop capacity in related industries by designing a financial solution to encourage the roll-out of large-scale renewable generation capacity.

South Africa will be looking to use its international partnerships to help the country secure funding to enable an ambitious scale-up of renewables.

The launch of the initiative will be accompanied by the announcement of partnerships between the South African government and international governments and Development Finance Institutions to explore possibilities for further developing the renewables industry.

Davies said an initial design for a financing mechanism had been developed, which combined low-cost loans, insurance and other financial instruments with climate funding on a pay-for-performance basis.

“Success in the large-scale development of renewables could realise direct economic benefits of up to 40000 jobs, contribute up to 15% of South Africa’s Copenhagen Commitment, and decarbonise exports by up to 30% in increasingly carbon-sensitive international markets,” Davies said.


Clean green growth reduces risk

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 22 February 2011

More and more evidence is accumulating that a clean and green economy is most likely to deliver a more secure, prosperous and less tumultuous future for humanity, WWF said yesterday.

WWF International Director General Jim Leape was commenting on today’s release of the major United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report Towards a Green Economy which shows that appropriate policies and relatively modest redirections of global investment flows could grow the global economy at equivalent or greater levels than current forecasts.

The way of the future is being shown by countries that are moving strongly to invest in renewable energy sources

The more sustainable economy would also be less affected by scarcities and disruption than the existing, resource-depleting, high carbon “brown” economy, the report said.

“UNEP’s report demonstrates that a clean and green development path can produce growth and employment while cutting costs and reducing the risks associated with business as usual,” Mr Leape said.

“Conventional economic thinking, GDP measures of growth and conventional corporate accounting will take us crashing headlong into the Earth’s limits.

“We need to move now to recognize the fundamental importance of the natural capital upon which the entire economy depends, and ensure that conservation of that capital is brought into the heart of public and corporate decisionmaking.”

“The way of the future is now being shown by the countries and companies that are now moving strongly to invest in renewable energy sources and better stewardship of forests, fisheries, and other resources.”

Mr Leape noted that the UNEP report identified greening energy supplies as the area needing the largest level of investment. That mirrors findings of WWF’s recent Energy Report which found that it was both possible and imperative to switch to a 100 per cent renewably powered world by 2050.

Source: WWF

SEED Awards recognises entrepreneurs

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 November 2010

A novel solar device that turns waste heat into electricity in rural China, a Ugandan business that manufactures stationery from agricultural waste, a bamboo bicycle project in Ghana and a female-run business in South Africa making a hand-held laundry device that saves water are among the 30 winners of the 2010 SEED Awards, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

Bamboo bicycle from Ghana

The SEED Awards recognise inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses can help meet sustainable development challenges. By helping entrepreneurs to scale-up their activities, the SEED Initiative, which is hosted by UNEP, aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.

This year, in addition to seeking innovative start-ups throughout the developing world, the SEED Awards had a special focus on Africa, placing particular emphasis on initiatives from South Africa, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal. This focus was part of a larger project linked with UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and was funded largely by the European Union. Continue reading

Nedbank first in carbon neutrality

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 July 2010

Financial services group Nedbank yesterday announced that it had achieved carbon neutrality, becoming the first large corporation to do so in SA.

Nedbank's billboard woven from 2000 recycled plastic bags

The group also became the first financial services organisation in Africa to achieve this status.

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown said the achievement epitomised Nedbank’s commitment to playing a leading role in sustainability.

Mr Brown said that the bank would leverage its carbon neutral status to help the government drive the green economy and deliver value for its stakeholders.

He said that Nedbank had saved R28m through reducing its use of electricity, paper and water, and had spent R2m on measuring its carbon footprint.

It offset 213000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases through carbon credits obtained from the Rukinga project in Kenya, at a cost of R12m.

Rukinga’s carbon credits had brought much-needed jobs and social benefits to its community, while allowing its land to be restored. Mr Brown also said that the group would offset its carbon footprint every year and hoped to secure a more diverse portfolio of carbon offsets in future.

He said that Nedbank would focus on the “huge challenge” of water for SA’s sustainability. Continue reading