Business Opportunities that Entrepreneurs Can Explore in the Green Industry

Updated on 22 November 2018

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By: Andile Mnisi, owner of Green Output Solutions

South Africa as a country has taken big strides to formulate sound and glossy policies in the promotion of environmental sustainability programmes for water conservancy, air quality and manufacturing, but the implementation is still lagging behind. This is caused by numerous reasons such as slow economic growth, technology, the education system, consumer mentality and lack of political will.

Industry overview

One of the six priority sectors of the government’s New Growth Path is the green economy because of its potential for job creation. Green energy generation is estimated to produce 130 023 long-term jobs, with energy and resource efficiency measures adding another 67 977 long-term jobs.

One the main benefits of green growth is that the jobs it creates tend to have higher local content than traditional fossil-fuel-based economic activities. South Africa currently has a ‘dirty’ economy because of our reliance on cheap coal for electricity generation, however the country is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.

Green Output Green Industries
The work of Green Output Solutions.

The challenges

Our country, as a developing state, offers opportunities in the Green Industry, however as a small business the barriers of entry hinders efficient participation. These are high cost of technology, expertise as well as government support. The South African government through its department of environmental affairs is advocating for green manufacturing of goods and products. In our case, as a manufacturer of organic compost derived from waste material has been an uphill struggle to secure a contract with government entities such municipal parks.

It is our view that opportunities in the green economy can be efficiently explored through partnerships of business, NGOs and government.

We recently witnessed the approval of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) by our government which is a step in the right direction, however we cannot shy away from the fact that the majority of these entities are large multinational corporations that lack appetite to partner with small local players in the country.

Our analysis also indicates that South Africa is not ready to adopt fully fledged green economy in production of certain commodities, such power, which is derived from coal. The mining industry plays a pivotal part in job creation as it is labour intensive and also support other industries that plays a role in the value chain of coal such as transporters of coal, processors, construction, etc. At times the greening of manufacturing sector poses a threat to socioeconomic status of the population as many households are dependent on the mining sector, it is upon government leaders to gradually introduce these technologies.

The opportunities

As the global economy continues to highlight the importance of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into business practices, energy saving programmes are becoming increasingly crucial.

Green economy industries such as renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions present entrepreneurs with opportunities to find creative ways of addressing critical energy- and environment-related challenges.

Here are some business ideas in the sector:

1. Better waste management systems ideas

2. Business opportunities to handle the recycling of waste from source is a reality and could also be a great employment creator, including:

  • Glass bottle collection, washing plants and redistribution into the market
  • Paper collection, pulping and the production of recycled paper products
  • Plastic collection to pelleting plant and on to plastic extrusion and blow-moulding plants using recycled plastic pallets as a raw material on scale

3. Better water management practices, including:

Businesses specializing in installing the equipment and infrastructure for the different water supply lines

4. Energy efficient technologies versus current energy intensive technologies

Green Output Solutions

At Green Output Solutions, we have identified endless opportunities in this sector as we have secured product uptake agreements from commercial farmers and other end users of processed waste commodities. The size of the business is in dire need of funding in order to upscale productivity and impact.

Thanks to the South African Breweries KickStart programme, Green Output Solutions is one of 21 finalists from the class of 2018 who have been provided with loan funding to support our business strategy, developed according to a comprehensive needs analysis conducted on our business and supported by personalised industry mentorship.

Green Output Solutions’ offering in the sector can be encapsulated as follows:

  • Organic Compost derived from waste material
  • Waste Industry symbiosis
  • Waste to Economy Projects (Recycling and processing)
  • Environmental Consultancy

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