The Green Outcomes Fund incentivises local South African fund managers to increase investment in green small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Created in response to a lack of investment in small companies championing green outcomes-based innovations, design partners — including GreenCape, the University of Cape Town’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, South Africa’s World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Bank’s climate technology programme — got together to provide a first-of-its-kind solution. The current pilot phase is a partnership signed between the national treasury’s jobs fund and GreenCape.
In total, R488.1-million has been raised by the Green Outcomes Fund through its partners. This is a significant achievement, considering how, historically, little to no financing has been available to green SMMEs.
During Covid-19, the Green Outcomes Fund worked hard to ensure the green economy was not forgotten. It partnered with the European Union’s Partnership Instrument and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the context of the International Climate Initiative to run a Covid-19 relief and resilience project to support several SMMEs over this time. According to Van Vlaanderen, who sits on the advisory board, the project was a great success. “We saw a 5% job growth emerge from these 12 businesses – it was incredible.”
One of the biggest misconceptions the Green Outcomes Fund faces is that green businesses are not financially viable. Van Vlaanderen claims that the fund wants to change this mind-set. The Green Outcomes Fund is instrumental in encouraging more green businesses to apply for funding and more fund managers to invest in green businesses.
Despite the challenges still faced by the environmental sustainability sector, the case for green innovation is strong. Not only does it support conservation and climate action, but it also plays a massive role in driving employment in South Africa. “There are many viable opportunities out there that make business sense. Investing in green businesses doesn’t have to be a loss. We need to change that narrative,” says Van Vlaanderen.
“There are many viable opportunities out there that make business sense. Investing in green businesses doesn’t have to be a loss. We need to change this narrative.”