Respect for and preservation of our planet and its natural resources is imperative for the wellbeing and prosperity of people everywhere. The global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders at a United Nations Summit in September 2015, prioritises the sustainability of water and energy; responsible consumption and production patterns; urgent action for the combatting of climate change, as well as the protection and sustainable use of resources below water and on land.

Overview of CSI spend

Environmental initiatives were supported by 33% of companies and received 3% of CSI expenditure in 2016.


Guidelines for effective funding

  • Support for environmental activities should be considered as part of an integrated sustainable development response, in which reducing poverty and protecting natural resources are considered together. Frequently, a project that serves an environmental agenda can also have measurable social benefits. Funders should therefore support win-win approaches, whereby projects to protect the environment also support livelihood strategies and bring social benefits to local communities.
  • When considering environmental projects, choose to support those that acknowledge the importance of engaging the local community up front and securing its support, commitment to, and ownership of the project.
  • Environmental programmes benefit from including an educational component to ensure that communities – particularly the younger generation – understand, endorse and support conservation measures.

Big picture figures

  • A recent study of industry stakeholders in 13 countries by US-based construction think-tank Dodge Data and Analytics, showed that South Africa currently has the highest share of green buildings.
  • The study also found that about 41% of South Africa’s construction activity in 2015 was green – the highest of the countries surveyed. South Africa also has the third highest level of biodiversity in the world.
  • According to Plastics SA, South Africa mechanically recycled 292 917 tons of plastics in 2015, a 3% increase from 2014.
  • Compared to 2014, in 2015 formal employment in the recycling sector increased to 6 234 permanent employees and informal employment grew to an estimated 48 820 collectors, according to Plastics SA.
  • Due to a significant reduction in the export of recyclable waste, Plastics SA reported that the amount the amount of plastics diverted from landfill in South Africa decreased by 1.6%, to 310 641 tons in 2015.
  • According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa has 2 300 threatened Red Data List species (a list that provides the most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species), and therefore ranks high on the list of biodiversity disaster areas.
  • Based on Statistics South Africa’s 2016 Environmental Economic Accounts, energy imports increased by 40%, from 852 397 TJ in 2003, to 1.2 million TJ in 2012.


About Trialogue

Trialogue is one of only a few consultancies in South Africa that focus exclusively on corporate responsibility issues. Over 17 years of experience puts us at the forefront of new developments in sustainability and corporate social investment (CSI).

We are a 51% black-owned company and the southern African Local Authority of the CECP Global Exchange.