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South African Business 2022

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FOCUS Harnessing the

FOCUS Harnessing the green economy for growth and increased job opportunities The Atlantis SEZ has dedicated Infrastructure and Integrated Ecosystem (IES) teams. Integrated Ecosystem Executive Ellen Fischat explains how they help to create shared value. The IES team, left to right: Christelle Brown, Ellen Fischat (Integrated Ecosystem Executive), Michael Webster, Ursula Wellmann, Charlotte Perang and Florenchia Solomons. The Atlantis Special Economic Zone Company (ASEZCo) for green technologies aims to harness the green economy for growth and increased job opportunities. It does this by driving sustainable, socioeconomic development and job creation, while positioning itself as a world-class eco-industrial park through its Living Lab. A Living Lab (LL), in contrast to a traditional laboratory, operates in a real-life context with a user-centric approach. The physical or organisational boundaries of a Living Lab are defined by purpose, scope and context. The scope, objectives, activities, resources and degree of participation and boundaries of a living laboratory are open for definition by its participants. These participants consist of multi-disciplinary stakeholders, from public to private sector, tertiary to research institutions and most importantly the local community and civic society. Industries adopting Living Labs share an approach to finding innovative solutions to open and real-world contexts, as opposed to closed laboratory settings. The task of convening and connecting the multi-disciplinary stakeholders falls mostly on the Infrastructure and Integrated Ecosystem (IES) teams, both supporting the ASEZCo’s establishment as a resource-efficient, carbonneutral and socially-inclusive industrial hub. Through its positioning as this eco-industrial park the ASEZ aims to attract Greentech investors who embody the elements and ethos of green technology manufacturing. It also means bringing the principles of the green economy into how the Atlantis SEZ is run and how the utility service needs of the investors are ultimately met and delivered. In recent years, purpose has gained momentum in business. With societal issues on the rise, government and community resources are under pressure. And increasingly, consumers expect organisations to step in and play a greater role in advancing social or environmental issues. But, while companies understand the moral imperative in delivering value for all stakeholders, a huge opportunity exists in seeing the business imperative. This can be explained through a simple but powerful idea: a company’s success and social progress are interdependent. This is the key principle of shared value. Tourism companies can’t thrive if a pandemic prevents us from travelling. Food suppliers can’t thrive if extreme weather events spoil farmers’ crops. Farmers can’t thrive if supply chains are fragmented. And communities go hungry when there is limited access to food supplies. And financial services can’t thrive amid financial hardship. SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2022 28

ithout ff line FOCUS In this context, purpose has an important place within business strategy. When used to its full potential, it can reach beyond risk mitigation – or doing no harm – to actually create new value for business (and society). Shared value is a framework designed to create business solutions to social and environmental problems. Put differently, it’s a means to deliver on your purpose, profitably. Shared value The creation of both societal and business value is integral to shared value. Societal value comes from vastly improving the conditions in which we live; advancing health outcomes, education, employment, financial or digital inclusion, service access and participation and/or helping to reduce our impact on the environment. Meanwhile, business value can range from increased revenue or market share to improved productivity, greater efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality, a more secure supply chain or a more skilled or productive workforce. The principle of striving towards shared value in our work with the local community, existing industrialists and new investors is underpinned by commitment to positive contribution towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The SDGs form a blueprint of addressing global inequities and achieving a more sustainable future for all. Working in close collaboration with the Infrastructure team, the IES team supports the Atlantis community through skills and enterprise development, coupled with community integration. This is done to enable the Atlantis community, notably its youth, to tap into increased job opportunities, locally as well as in the buoyant green economy. Green skills development and growing technical capabilities within the community form part of the ASEZCo’s strategic objectives, aligned to the legislative requirement of the SEZ Act to grow the regional economy and drive socio-economic impact. This includes a range of interventions to support the skills development pipeline, some starting at foundational level, going through to school, college and ultimately at the workplace. The IES programmes are anchored by intentional, continuous and wider stakeholder community engagement, through our Community Stakeholder Network (CSN). This elected group of community leaders hail from a variety of sectors, such as small business and informal traders, education, youth, women and people with disabilities, Early Childhood Development, faithbased and traditional council and cultural groups. The CSN serves as a conduit for meaningful communication between the ASEZCo and the Greater Atlantis Community, therefore ensuring dialogue between the public and private sector and the community at large. The principles of multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration provide a feeding ground for fostering local innovation, the co-creation of solutions and a conducive business environment. References https://sharedvalue.org.au/about/shared-value/ https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ sustainable-development-goals/ 29 SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2022

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