Green investment in South Africa could inspire growth and create jobs, according to a new study.
The report claims that investment in a low-carbon and resource efficient economy could create 170,000 jobs in the country, increase crop yields by almost a quarter and provide greater water availability.
It suggests that with greater sustainability across the board, South Africa would see more benefits that it would with a business as usual approach. Maintaining economic growth while lowering emissions of greenhouse gases would also cause less environmental damage.
Commissioned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at the request of South’s Africa Department of Environmental Affairs, the report was presented on Tuesday by the country’s water and environment minister Edna Molewa.
She said, “This study demonstrates that a green economy approach, which takes into account the country’s economic, social and environmental aspirations, can deliver as much growth as a business as usual model but in a more sustainable manner.
“The report’s findings will help guide the country’s future policies and investments, as it work towards achieving its sustainable development and poverty eradication goals.”
The study admits that investment in the transport sector is insufficient to meet the country’s 2015 energy efficiency targets. However, it suggests that more “aggressive” investment could achieve efficiency improvements of 5.5% by 2030, partially offsetting the projected population growth.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said, “By undertaking this modelling exercise, South Africa is also contributing to the global discussion on how countries can measure progress towards their sustainable development aspirations.”
In November 2011, the South African government announced the Green Economy Accord. The deal between the government, labour unions and the private sector aims to create 300,000 new green jobs by 2020.