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About the green economy

A green economy is a sustainable and environmentally friendly economic system that reduces harm to the planet while meeting the needs of current and future generations. It seeks to balance economic growth with environmental protection and resource conservation. This approach is crucial for addressing pressing global challenges, including changing weather patterns and biodiversity loss.

About the green economy

Nine priority focus areas for the green economy in South Africa (Green Economy Summit, 2010)

Climate risks

How will climate change affect our future?

Risk of physical damage and disruption

Climate change can cause extreme weather events like floods and wildfires. These events can damage buildings, roads and farms, which can make it harder for people to do their jobs and for businesses to operate smoothly.

Risk of increased operating costs

As the climate gets hotter, businesses might need more energy to cool down their buildings. Also, if water becomes scarcer, some industries might have to pay more for the water they use. These extra expenses can make it more expensive for businesses to run.

Risk of supply chain disruptions

Sometimes, companies in South Africa get the materials they need from other countries. However, climate change can disrupt this by causing problems like hurricanes that affect shipping or extreme weather that stops production in other places. This can lead to delays and higher costs for businesses.

Reputation risk

If a company appears not to show care or concern about the environment or has business practices and operations that are detrimental to the environment, people (consumers) might not want to buy their products or support them. This can hurt a company's image and make it harder for them to perform well in their respective industry or stay competitive in the market.

Regulatory risk

Governments are making stricter rules to protect the environment from climate change. Businesses in South Africa need to follow these rules, and sometimes it can be expensive to do so. If they do not follow the rules, they can get fined or face legal implications.

How we can respond to climate change


Adaptation means keeping abreast of and staying ready to adapt to changes caused by climate change. It's about making plans and changes to deal with events like droughts or floods that might happen more often because of climate change.

An example: farmers in South Africa are changing the way in which they harvest and grow crops in order to use less water, due to a decrease in rainfall. This is an example of adapting to the changing climate.

About the green economy


Mitigation means trying to stop or reduce activities that make climate change worse. This may include reducing gas emissions that come from burning coal or oil, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, in turn causing climate change through an increase in temperature by trapping heat in the atmosphere.

An example: South Africa is building more wind and solar power plants to make electricity and generate alternative sources of energy without using as much coal, a fossil fuel. This aids in reducing the gases that cause climate change.

About the green economy

Climate finance

Climate finance refers to funds that help governments and organisations develop projects aimed at fighting climate change. These funds can be used to build and promote initiatives such as clean energy projects or to help communities prepare for climate impacts.

An example: South Africa might get money from a global fund to build solar panels in a town. This contributes to clean energy and reduces the effects of climate change. Climate finance helps pay for such projects.

About the green economy

Climate resilience

Climate resilience means being strong and ready to handle the problems that are caused by climate change. It's about making sure communities and nature can "bounce back" after climate change effects such as floods or storms.

An example in South Africa: in areas where there is not much water, people might learn ways to save water and grow drought-resistant crops. This helps them survive and do well even when there is less rain due to a changing climate.

One way that households and businesses can build their climate resilience is to install water tanks that gather and store rain run-off from their roofs. This can help households and businesses save money and ensure that they have a water supply even during severe drought.

About the green economy