Durban Climate Change Summit

24 June, 2009, The Hilton Hotel, Durban

The Durban Investment Promotion Agency (DIPA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and the National Business Initiative (NBI) organized the Durban Climate Change Summit – Industry’s Green Growth day, supported by KPMG and Durban Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of the summit was to raise awareness amongst KZN’s private sector of the anticipated climate change, the challenges and risks it presents and finally the opportunities that can be exploited. As such, the Summit will provide business with the opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences in this field, identify ways to play an even more active role in addressing climate change, as well as potentially working together in identifying further green investment opportunities within the region.

Moving beyond the conclusive pronouncements by the 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment report, South Africa has already had experiences of rising temperature, variable rainfall and extreme weather patterns which have caused major devastation and impacted on both Business and government in terms of cost.  The government is currently working on a new National Climate Response Strategy.

Durban, as an African coastal city, is acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The impacts of climate change are likely to significantly affect the eThekwini Municipality’s ability to deliver on our sustainable development objectives. Climate change is also likely to increase risk profiles of industries, particularly those with complex supply chain or production systems. However, there are also a number of opportunities that will result from increased demand in more environmentally efficient technologies and production processes.

With these changes in mind, the city had embarked on its Municipal Climate Protection Programme in 2004. This programme includes a number of projects and interventions aimed at putting in place proactive responses that will ensure a resilient and sustainable city in a changing global climate.  This Summit presented the opportunity for business to contribute from a business perspective.  Furthermore, this will call for deeper understanding and interrogation of climate change by business from both a risk and opportunity perspective.

Industry’s Green Growth Day showcased South African and International best practice examples of investments in climate change mitigation opportunities. The NBI’s work in Energy Efficiency as well as its role and lessons learnt as the leading partner to the global Carbon Disclosure Project will be shared.

The day included sustainability improvements, highlight incentives for business in this area and present and discuss how to create partnerships that address climate change in our region. Opportunity will also be offered at the Summit for stakeholders to raise their views and perspectives on what more eThekwini Municipality and organized Business bodies should be doing to address the climate challenge. While some KZN businesses are already investing in this area, there is still unexploited potential to promote synergies and leverage more business opportunities.

The goal of the Industry’s Green Growth day was to:

  • Disseminate the latest findings on the science of climate change and its impacts at international, national and provincial scales
  • Introduce international & national best practice and perspectives
  • Understand how South African Businesses are dealing with climate change issues
  • Determine how different stakeholders can play a role in addressing new challenges & opportunities
  • Contribute to the UNIDO, DIPA’s & eThekwini local compact partnerships to mitigate Climate Change

The Summit was attended by a number of stakeholders including:

  • Representatives of DIPA and the eThekwini Municipality;
  • Representatives of Provincial and National Government Departments or Agencies
  • The UNIDO and international partners
  • Leadership & Members of the NBI
  • Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry leadership, plus other organised business bodies
  • Local corporate business leadership & their environmental/energy/sustainability/risk Managers
  • Research, academia and support institutions