OECD Week 2011 highlights the need for growth whilst protecting the environment

By Neil Townsend, CEO, Just Energy

May 30, 2011

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) celebrates its 50th Anniversary this week. Originally formed from European nations in the wake of the second world war, it now brings together 40 countries that account for 80 percent of world trade and investment.

The recently released OECD Green Growth Strategy, and the new report, Towards Green Growth, asserts that governments must look to the green economy to find new sources of growth, and that green growth makes economic as well as environmental sense.

Emerging economic powers, including South Africa, now contribute to over 25 percent of global GDP. And, while many are not members of the OECD, the relevance of at the OECD’s conclusions to their economies can not be underestimated. Indeed, in many ways emerging economies may have even more to gain. Just as in telecoms markets where mobile technology helped developing economies to skip to the latest technology, bringing with it huge productivity gains, renewable energy technology is poised to achieve the same in the power sector.

The OECD also commented that in natural resource sectors alone, commercial opportunities related to investments in environmental sustainability could run into trillions of dollars by 2050.

A modest share in those investment opportunities for local communities, such as those provided by Just Energy’s wind energy generation projects in South Africa could bring multiple benefits, such as improved education and health care.

Interest in sustainable development initiatives in developing nations is clearly very strong. Encouraged by this, Just Energy is motivated as ever for its community-owned wind projects in South Africa and its planned projects in other countries to achieve their triple return on investment: financial returns to investors, social returns for to the community, and environmental returns for the planet.

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