Analysing the eThekwini green economy according to its dynamic and complex components for identifying leverage points.
Naidoo, Magashen Kisanderan.
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It is widely accepted that climate change is taking place as a result of anthropogenic activities. The rapid rate of the current bout of climate change being experienced is unprecedented. Climate change results in disastrous consequences for humankind. However, climate change also offers opportunities which include the potential for developing a green economy. A green economy is a concept that will result in actions for enhancing the growth of an economy, while simultaneously protecting the environment and spurring progress towards social equity. This study was of the position that the eThekwini green economy is not well understood in terms of its dynamic and complex characteristics. Specifically, the core focus of the study was to identify the components that make up the eThekwini green economy, highlight the characteristics of the components, determine the manner in which those components interact, pinpoint leverage points in the system and develop a framework to depict the eThekwini green economy from the findings. Pragmatism was the guiding philosophical worldview for this research, which resulted in a mixed methods approach being adopted. Data collection tools included surveys, focus groups and interviews. The population and sample for this research consisted of sixteen purposely identified individuals for interviews. In addition, four hundred and ninety seven individuals were identified for survey participation and a total of twenty two for focus groups. It was noted during the study that many businesses that provide green related goods and services, do not view themselves as being part of the green economy. It is widely accepted that the eThekwini green economy does exist, albeit it has stemmed as organic growth from the broader economy. A total of seven key components were identified through the research, with a total of forty two sub components. In addition, a total of ten leverage points have been highlighted, the principal of which is that without addressing unemployment, discretionary income, inequality and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, the eThekwini green economy will not grow. It was further found that no component operates in isolation. Characteristics of components were broadly found to be made up of similar elements, but to differing degrees. A plethora of indicators were raised and synthesised into a matrix of five core indicator segments. All information gathered through the study resulted in the development of a framework that depicts the manner in which the eThekwini green economy operates.