Ralf Fletcher, CEO, Topco Media
Iain Williamson, CEO, Old Mutual
On an unmatched pedigree through collaboration with state departments, large corporations, and the United Nations, the conference is one of a kind and extremely timely. Some of the major corporate partners include:
- Platinum partner – Old Mutual
- Gold partner – ABSA Bank Limited
- Silver partners – Vodacom, Sentech, PwC, Exxaro and Umgeni Water
- Brass Partners – Nemesis Accounting and Brand South Africa
The summit began with keynote speaker Iain Williamson, Group CEO of platinum partner Old Mutual, who noted that the interconnectivity between economic, social and environmental systems is more apparent than ever. “Evidence suggests that a good grounding in financial concepts from an early age can be life -changing. It creates a sustainable pipeline across the continent,” he said. “The journey to sustainability is not straightforward. We need to have a collaborative mindset to turn our collective challenges into opportunities.”
The panel discussions brought together speakers who explored trends, best practices, and shared where they see sustainability in the coming years.
Unlocking Africa’s green economy
In his keynote address, David Renwick, head of investment banking at Absa emphasized that the organization is highly committed to sustainability and the key to success is partnerships. Absa is the first bank in South Africa to publish sustainable financing targets, strengthening South Africa through sustainable financing.
Panel discussion: The green economy – a pipe dream or a future reality?
Managed by Heidi Barends, leader: sustainable finance at Absa, the discussion explored the gap between where we want to go and whether the goals are achievable. Dr. Stanley Semelane, head of stakeholder relations, ESG and sustainability at Sasol stressed the “need to build our economy in a sustainable way so that future generations can continue to live on earth!” He added that “South Africa needs to balance socio-economic needs and climate sustainability needs in a country with the highest unemployment in the world.”
Panel discussion: How to use IoT to drive smart city solutions
Vusi Mngomezulu, head of sales at IoT.nxt, a subsidiary of Vodacom, was accompanied by speakers from HPE in South Africa, Microsoft and IBM Consulting, in a conversation about the opportunities presented by using Internet of Things to make cities better and sustainable. The panelists noted the need for cooperation between stakeholders and that “what you can’t measure, you can’t manage.”
Panel discussion: Separate economic growth from resource generation
There’s the basics, we have the direction we’re going – that’s the main point from this discussion which featured Dean Alborough, head of ESG at Old Mutual Alternative Investments. The panelists emphasized the need for urgency and how partnership and rethinking how we measure gross domestic product will bring us closer to sustainable growth.
Panel discussion: Water conservation – ensuring a sustainable future
Umgeni Water’s laboratory services manager, Dr. Ntsapokazi Deppa, was part of a discussion about one of the most important and scarce resources. The panelists brought the audience to current best practices, the options available, and the need for pollutants to play a role in reducing the impact of pollution on water quality.
Case study: The essence of business development and sustainability
In this case study, Nemesis Accounting CEO Shani Naidoo, asked an important question: Are we ready for how growth and sustainability will evolve? Shani covered possible solutions to South Africa’s economic problems, including the impact of neurology. He guided the attendees through practical steps, emphasizing how change can have an external impact within the country in general.