If the environment were listed on the Stock Exchange – would you invest in Nature? - News | DEA&DP

If the environment were listed on the Stock Exchange – would you invest in Nature?

5 June 2020

If the environment were listed on the Stock Exchange – would you invest in Nature?

Now more than ever it’s important to mark World Environment Day  (5 June 2020) amidst a pandemic. It’s time to work together - #ForNature.

In celebration of World Environment Day, the Western Cape Government (DEA&DP) is proud to launch the Ecological Infrastructure Investment Framework (EIIF) and SmartProcurement Programme (SPP) - designed using nature-based solutions to sustainably drive the economy whilst reducing the effects of climate change.

Karen Shippey, Chief Director of Environmental Sustainability at DEAD&DP, “If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what is critical and what is not. It’s no longer business as usual and just as we invest in goods to enrich and better our lives so to we should invest in nature to secure our future. If we restore natural systems to a healthy functioning state, we humans reap the benefits. Nature acts as a buffer from climate variability meaning that we could reduce our risks associated with things like how viruses spread and how at risk we are because of pollution.”

With a major focus on water and mitigating drought, the EIIF was developed to protect and enhance the naturally functioning ecosystems that deliver services which benefit society through carefully coordinated investment. “Services such as fresh water, climate regulation, soil formation and disaster risk reduction - are all part of the nature-based equivalent of built or hard infrastructure, says Shippey.

The EIIF looks at the region’s strategic water source areas, such as wetlands, catchments and rivers, that are important for water provision and identifies areas for investment in order to safeguard people’s livelihoods.

Water security is affected by factors such as increasing population growth, industry expansion, climate change and the spread of invasive alien vegetation. Shippey adds that alien vegetation also poses a fire risk, which has increased year on year in the Western Cape and has the potential to destroy our assets and livelihood systems.

Second to that the ‘SmartProcurement Programme (SPP)’ was established in 2018 to provide strategic support to provincial and local governments in the Western Cape guiding them to procure goods and services in a sustainable way. “This involves consciously looking from “cradle to grave” of whatever we need to purchase – how was it made and what will happen to it after its useful life. Will humanity be “paying” the environmental cost long after this generation – like much of our current plastic waste,” says Shippey. 

She explains further that SPP ensures that purchasing reflects broader goals linked to resource efficiency, climate change, social responsibility and economic resilience. It fulfils a transformational role by changing value chains and creating markets for green and sustainable products and services. From the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, etc. - all the natural services that the EIIF protect - it’s becoming increasingly evident that economic aspects (i.e. purchasing, consumption, procurement) are no longer separate from the environmental aspects.”

The principals of sustainable procurement are gaining traction globally and at national levels, especially as a tool to achieve sustainable development and to take climate action, concludes Shippey.

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Development Planning and Local Government, adds: “The green economy is a key driver of development and growth in the Western Cape and both the EIIF and the SPP aim to jump start that positive economic growth so important in our recovery from COVID. The EIIF specifically has been designed to be a low to no risk resilience strategy, that will bear significant co-benefits to ecosystems, people and the economy of the Province.  We can and should make everyday choices which will leave us more food secure and more resilient to disasters and this means considering the impact of every choice we make on the systems which support every aspect of our lives. The time is now to place more emphasis on the Environment from a financial aspect – it is the only asset which actually enables our existence.”

For more information on the EIIF watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivR7zKs1Jqk

For more information on the SPP click here and here.