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SA is getting hotter day by day, policy and decisionmakers need to understand how the most vulnerable are already being affected by climate change. PICTURE: SUPPLIED/SANLAM
SA is getting hotter day by day, policy and decisionmakers need to understand how the most vulnerable are already being affected by climate change. PICTURE: SUPPLIED/SANLAM

The global North may be the largest contributor of carbon emissions, with a 92% rate, but the impact of climate change will be felt in the global South. And the ones who will feel this impact the most are young people.

Sanlam Investments’ most recent Critical Conversations titled “Climate for Social’s Sake” consisted of a panel of millennials and Gen-Z’s, whose focus was on finding future-fit solutions on climate change and how to act swiftly.  

The panel included;

  • Akhona Xotyeni, youth advocate at the Danish Royal Embassy; 
  • Ayakha Melithafa, climate justice activist and the youngest commissioner on the Presidential Climate Commission; 
  • Luleka Dlamini, PhD candidate; and 
  • Morategi Kale, PhD researcher in human geography; and
  • news presenter Lerato Mbele as the host. 

These were the key points made by the panellists: 

It’s getting hotter by the day

By 2040, it’s predicted that residents of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, will have to queue for water. In Limpopo, it will be too hot to work outdoors by 2060. Policy and decision-makers need to get closer to communities to understand how the most vulnerable are already being affected by climate change, because South Africans are experiencing the impact of extreme weather events in their daily lives.  

Renewables for a better future 

SA is uniquely positioned to be a world leader in renewable energy. However, the panellists agreed the move to renewables need to be handled carefully. The coal industry employs more than 82,000 people in Mpumalanga alone.

The energy transition will take place over the next 20 years and will cost about R6bn. The questions we must ask ourselves are: How many young people will be displaced? How do we reskill and reintegrate people into the economy?

Change is needed

The consensus from the panellists is that our current capitalist systems are not serving society. We need to start imagining what a post-capitalist era that prioritises human needs and wellness could look like. The obsession with consumption isn’t compatible with the goals of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

It’s time for action

We need ways to mobilise people and link them up. At a practical level, it’s about seeking ways to invest in infrastructure and urban planning. Funds such as the Sanlam Investments Sustainable Infrastructure Fund can play a pivotal role in injecting money into the country’s main construction pipeline projects. 

Funding social action

Impact investing is crucial to millennials and Gen-Zs, because it’s about generating returns while contributing to real social returns. The Sanlam Investments Legacy range of funds prioritises job creation and preservation. 

“Our purpose is to become Africa’s pre-eminent sustainable investment house. We are doing this to build a better world for future generations to inherit. We are doing all we can to exercise our proxy voting rights and shareholder engagements to influence large corporations. We have also launched products and funds to drive sustainable investing. A sustainable future is what drives us,” says Jason Liddle, head of distribution at Sanlam Investments.

Watch to this edition of Sanlam Investments' Critical Conversations here: 

The next edition of Sanlam Investments' Critical Conversations is on May 16, 2022 and will focus on public-private partnerships.

This article was paid for by Sanlam Investments.  

Sanlam Investment Management (Pty) Ltd, FSP 579, is an authorised Financial Services Provider under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002

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