The 2017 edition of Sustainability Week is set to become Africa’s most important event in driving economic transformation through sustainable development, as Africa’s key policy, business and technical leaders connect to share knowledge and insights.
The shift towards the circular economy across all economic sectors is the most exciting story in business today, as it carries a wealth of economic opportunities, along with the promise of mitigating the impacts of climate change and urbanisation. Sustainability Week 2017 brings together high-level expertise from the private and public sector to address the most important sustainability challenges currently faced by African countries, while celebrating advances made in implementing sustainable development.
Hosted by the City of Tshwane and organised by alive2green, Sustainability Week 2017 will be held at the CSIR International Convention Centre from 13-15 June 2017. Anchor events on the schedule include the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), the Green Building Conference, and the Sustainable Energy Seminar and the Eco-Logic Awards.
Building on the achievements of its 2015 and 2016 instalments, ACCSF 2017 focuses on key aspects of sustainable urban development among the world’s fastest-growing cities. The emphasis is on poverty eradication and improving living conditions through best practice policies which drive economic growth by accessing green funding for climate smart infrastructure development.
The Green Building Conference addresses the reality that Africa will have to absorb more than half of global population growth from now until 2050, a phenomenon that will have untold environmental impacts. With the cost of green construction approaching parity with conventional techniques, in the context of sustainable development the investment case for sustainable buildings in Africa is therefore imperative.
“Worldwide, it is increasingly recognised that sustainability is not only critical to economic survival, but that it also holds the key to economic prosperity,” said Gordon Brown, Director of alive2green. “Governments that succeed in creating platforms favourable to sustainable development will enable their citizens to thrive, ensuring stability and sustainable growth. Businesses that embrace sustainability principles will be able to face the future without fear, leaving their competitors trapped in the increasingly irrelevant high cost past of ‘business as usual’.”
“Those individuals and organisations that are making a real and measurable difference in creating a more socially and environmentally sustainable world to live in will be honoured through the presentation of The Eco-Logic Awards, which this year will be hosted by Enviropaedia. The Eco-Logic Awards were created in recognition of the need to effectively change numerous environmentally destructive behaviours and conditions that currently prevail around the world,” added David Parry-Davies of The Enviropaedia.
“We need to change the thinking patterns and values that created those conditions, and to embrace Eco-Logic’s seven regenerative eco-logical virtues, which have been fully supported by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,” added Parry-Davies.
In parallel with these anchor events, Sustainability Week 2017 will also host an array of industry-specific seminars dedicated to providing solutions to cross-cutting sustainability challenges, as well as unpacking the economic opportunities that they imply. Transport, water, agriculture, tourism, mining, manufacturing and infrastructure all stand to benefit immensely from global trends towards circular economy principles. Energy is at the cutting edge, with Africa set to become the world’s number one renewable investment destination, while Vision Zero Waste holds the promise of transforming African cities into clean and prosperous spaces for all to live and thrive in. A special seminar dedicated to Youth and the Green Economy is geared to showcase the vibrant career opportunities available to the smart workforce of the future.
The seminars will be rounded off with a series of workshops designed to assist sustainability practitioners in implementing their projects. The Project Bankability workshop will delve into the nitty-gritty of getting sustainable projects off the ground, while the Urban Development and Planning workshop will afford civic administrators invaluable insights into how to run cities sustainably and efficiently. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend the workshop on Start-ups and Business Incubation, while the workshop on Rethinking Design and Specification will provide architects and industrial designers with a head-start in developing future-proof buildings, products and services.
“I welcome the opportunity for the City of Tshwane to host Sustainability Week for the fourth consecutive year,” said Executive Mayor Cllr Solly Msimanga. “I embrace the addition of the Eco-Logic Awards because of its alignment to our transition to sustainable procurement in the City. The hosting of Sustainability Week will coincide with close to a full year in office and I trust that we will be able to contribute to the conversation with City stakeholders on successes, challenges and opportunities in taking the City of Tshwane to the next level. Sustainability is about building the long-term vision for the City and taking a resource use perspective on how we deliver services and provide essential infrastructure – Sustainability Week ensures that we snap out of our reticence and to seek the most holistic solutions through a partnership-based approach to relieving pressure points in the City.”
Throughout the event, emphasis will be placed on developing solutions from within the African context.
“It is tremendously exciting that the African continent is fast emerging as the world’s fulcrum of sustainable development. Nowhere else are there as many opportunities for bankable projects. At the same time, the social costs of neglecting sustainability are potentially crippling, not just for Africa but globally. It’s time for leaders across the spectrum of business and governance to step up to the plate and steer all stakeholders towards a sustainable future. Sustainability Week 2017 holds the key to that intention,” concluded Brown.
alive2green is a specialist knowledge company focused on promoting and delivering content on sustainability. The company does not position itself as the authority on sustainability, but rather seeks to create platforms for experts to share their knowledge to assist decision-makers to make the right choices. alive2green works in partnership with leading research institutions, industry organisations and government departments to develop and produce forums, publications, events and educational courses that communicate the fundamental issues around sustainability with the aim of facilitating the knowledge transfer needed to advance towards a sustainable future.
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