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The role of businesses in growing the green economy

Different people and organisations have different, and interesting, takes on sustainable lifestyle choices. With May being Energy Month, and the urgency caused by the energy crisis, there has never been a better opportunity to share ideas for contributing positively to the green economy.

The role of businesses in growing the green economy

Closing the sustainability talent gap

Salesforce Area VP / Africa Executive & South Africa Country Leader, Zuko Mdwaba says, “To reach a net zero future all roles should be sustainability roles. We’re going to need an army of qualified individuals working together – from carbon accountants to scientists to ecopreneurs. Yet despite both good intentions and pressure to meet ambitious climate goals, businesses are facing a severe shortage of sustainability talent available to help meet their commitments”.

“Leveraging a company’s existing workforce can be a powerful solution to solving the sustainability talent gap. According to new Salesforce research of 1,297 global workers, over 8 in 10 want to help their company operate more sustainably. While 3 in 5 are eager to incorporate sustainability into their current role, 88% said a lack of investment in training towards those qualifications is stopping companies from reaching their sustainability goals.” Adding that,

“By upskilling existing workers who want to make the jump into sustainability careers, companies can source talent for hard-to-fill roles, while helping employees work towards something they’re passionate about.”

Education of the public about the benefits of the green economy is important

CEO of Sea Monster Entertainment, Glenn Gillis says, “When we speak about sustainability, it is crucial that we put people at the centre of the conversation and realise that changing human behaviour is key.”

Gillis explains that understanding what we can do and why it matters is part one, while incentivising and empowering people to take action is part two.

”Games can play a massive role in this by making complex ideas easy to truly understand. Green technology is fascinating, but most people don’t get it. We need to communicate the benefits in a way that’s relatable and actionable, whether we’re talking to individuals, organisations, or customers. With more understanding and action, we can ultimately change the world,” says Gillis.

Environmentally friendly fashion that supports charitable causes

Relate Bracelets brand consultant Dalit Shekel says, “We value the importance of responsible manufacturing processes, and we are sensitive to the needs of the environment. This is why we choose to use environmentally sustainable materials such as glass beads instead of plastic when designing and making our bracelets.”

Shekel believes that all fashion businesses have a role to play in supporting the green economy and should make their contribution in a way that resonates with their niche, no matter how humble they believe that contribution to be. She also adds, though, that because of economies of scale, it’s not just the industry that needs to drive change.

“Slow fashion is definitely the way to go. But, ultimately, the power is in the hands of the customers. The more of them who demand sustainable fashion over mass produced items and the more of them who support fashion-led charitable causes, the more impact we can all have on the fashion industry and, ultimately, the environment,” she adds.

Relate bracelets are made by seniors in township communities. This provides them with a sustainable income and a sense of purpose. With each purchase, you are not only getting a beautifully crafted piece of jewellery, but you’re also contributing to causes such as wildlife conservation, quality education, accessible healthcare, and clean water initiatives.

Incentivising green habits among customers

Keletso Mpisane, head of digitally-based car insurer MiWay Blink, says, “We encourage our customers to follow eco-friendly driving habits, and in doing so to help spare the environment. Vehicles emit carbon dioxide, which is the most common human-caused greenhouse gas. The pollution from cars also contributes to health problems in humans, such as respiratory illnesses.

“Reducing motor vehicle emissions is therefore important, so we incentivise our customers to limit their driving and by doing so, their emissions. If an insured customer drives less than 2 500kms a month, we give them a cash back refund on the premium they paid that month. The refund increases with the less you drive, so, for example, if a customer doesn’t drive at all in a month, a refund of up to 50% of that month’s premium is paid back to them.”

“We’re also mindful of pro-green processes within our own business. As a wholly digital insurer, we’ve eliminated the use of paperwork processes, which is an important green practice. Promoting paperless systems lessens the impact of the paper industry on the environment, keeps millions of tons of waste out of landfills, saves trees and conserves energy used in converting those trees into paper, all of which have an important eco impact,” she adds

Your mobile device can help protect the environment

With over 6.4 billion smartphone users in the world this year, changing how we interact with our phones and keeping them for longer is a positive step for the environment.

As part of this journey, HMD Global, home of Nokia phones, are making strides in how they imagine, design, manufacture and sell our phones, helping to keep them out of landfill and helping people keep their phones for longer.

This started with their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across their entire business in line with approved climate science so they can reach 50% by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050.

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