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Interrogating Sustainability Issues

Interrogating Sustainability Issues

The Durban University of Technology’s Journal of Green Economy and Development (JGED) conference: Greening developing economies in the wake of falling oil prices, kicked off today, with researchers presenting their studies which speak to the green economy as well as issues relating to sustainability.

The conference, which is being chaired by Dr Tidings Ndhlovu from the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), UK, is being hosted and organised by DUT’s JGED, with partners and sponsors being the Iqraa Trust, Eskom KwaZulu-Natal, DUT business incubator Invo Tech, academics from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in the UK, Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality,  Rhodes University,  University of South Africa and the Institut für Wirtschaftswissenschaft, Erlangen, Germany in.

Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Research and Postgraduate Support Director at DUT, said the 2015 academic year marks the important achievement of the University exceeding the production of the 100 research units that it had set for itself. This increase, so she said, has to a greater extent been linked to the increasing research-base within the University, strategic partnerships as well as regional and international affiliates. “The global economic footprint has prompted us as a University to engage social and natural scientists, policy makers and all interested parties to look into how we can contribute towards eliminating poverty and making the planet greener,” she said.

One of the interesting papers presented at the conference was Philani Ntshangase’s Upcycling! –Jobs from Waste, a study which basically looked into poverty alleviation through waste. The study intended to show that there could be a collaborative relationship with an industry partner who was committed to waste management and interested parties in working together to producing useful manufactured articles.

“The phrase reuse, rework and recycle is no longer a cliché. This study aimed to show the benefits of upcycling waste material generated from selected packaging industry. Used pallets, waste plastic packaging material and other forms of waste products were used to make household and school furniture, waterproof garments as well as furniture for the physically challenged. Furthermore, business plans were developed to guide interested parties on potential business initiation and job creation opportunities that could arise from this collaboration. This study demonstrated that waste beneficiation is indeed a beneficial initiative when there is a sustainable source of material and innovative minds to work with it. It also showed that upcycling can create jobs and aid in rural development”, said Ntshangase.

Another interesting paper presentation was by Anil Sangham, a PhD student at DUT, who presented on his research proposal on The Role of Private Sector Resources in Financing Sustainable Development. Sangham’s study will explore the outcomes of policy directives governing private sector resources for the specific aim of financing sustainable development on a global scale. “It is clearly established, from the very onset that public sector resources in terms of percentages of gross national product from developed economies do not have the capacity to serve the massive needs of sustainable development. However, these funding needs for sustainable development represent a miniscule apportionment of global private sector resources. The study concludes that in addition to direct private sector investment, crowd funding from globally interactive technology may provide a viable, alternative pathway to attract private sector resources,” said Sangham.

The conference is being held at the Makaranga Lodge in Kloof, outside Durban. It ends on Friday, 10 July 2015.

– Sinegugu Ndlovu

Pictured: Delegates at the JGED conference.

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