Green Alliance Africa

1. Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)

By adopting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices there is an opportunity for countries to improve the eco-efficiency of economic growth. Given that there are limits to the capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems to absorb pollution and provide natural resources, the only way to maintain economic progress in the long term without approaching these limits is to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. In practical terms this means getting more from less; including more efficient and profitable production, using less raw materials, bringing competitive advantage; more value added to a product, with less pollution and waste in the process; and more consumer needs fulfilled, with less energy, water or waste.
The major innovation and strength of SCP is to provide a holistic perspective that integrates the whole life cycle of products and services, combines production and consumption related practices, covers the triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social aspects, follow an interdisciplinary perspective and offers a framework for a consistent policy approach. The role of the public sector is to create a conducive environment for more investments necessary to provide for sustainable consumption choices.

2. Greening Business and Markets

Green businesses are defined as enterprises which consider environmental protection as an essential component of their long-term business objectives, both by promoting eco-efficient production activities and by marketing sustainable products and services. Almost all businesses have the potential for improvements both in efficiency and resource use spurring greater environmental sustainability while reducing costs and maximising profits. Across the region corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming the agents of change for sustainability and have managed to turn protection of the environment into a business opportunity.

By introducing policies, legislation and incentives and encouraging companies to pursue the greening of their business practices, governments can significantly contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) particularly in regards to poverty alleviation (goal 1) and to environmental sustainability (goal 7) while adapting to the impacts of climate change. Governments can use a variety of Green Growth policies to create an enabling environment for businesses to adopt green practices. It is critical to raise awareness amongst the private sector and the public that in this time of resources scarcity, environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility are business opportunities rather than additional costs. Huge potentials exist for firms across the region to develop new environmentally sound technologies and climate-friendly goods and services.

3. Sustainable Infrastructure

It is widely recognised that infrastructure provides the foundation for economic and social development and is key to improving livelihood opportunities as well as delivering critical needs and services to communities. Patterns of infrastructure development determine the environmental sustainability of economic growth and are critical to building low-carbon economies. The development and expansion of infrastructure, however, often has serious environmental repercussions. As cities grow, highways lengthen and water, energy and sanitation services are expanded. Infrastructure is very intensive in resource use, including energy, water, materials and land. Without careful planning, infrastructure can lock countries into unsustainable production and consumption patterns that may prove difficult to reverse.
A sustainable infrastructure system is one that facilitates a higher-quality delivery of housing, transport, energy, water, waste and sanitation services, with less use of resources, to support social and economic development in an integrated, eco-efficient and inclusive manner. By adopting sustainable infrastructure higher-quality services can be delivered with less use of resources and lower negative environmental impacts, as well as lower vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.