Companies in an increasingly resource- and carbon-constrained world face mounting pressure from shareholders, government and society to move towards sustainability. Environmental and social issues are now central to decision-making. While these pressures may be understood by companies in the abstract, there is little guidance as to what they mean in reality, and even less guidance on how to overcome them.
The Green House works with clients to assist in:
Identifying risks and opportunities associated with sustainability challenges, new legislation and climate change realities.
Benchmarking current sustainability performance using approaches such as life cycle assessment and carbon footprinting.
Identifying and assessing strategies to move towards more sustainable operation.
Implementing these strategies through capacity building, staff training, facilitation and multi-stakeholder and multi-criteria decision support.
Case Studies: Anglo American Scope 3 Assessment; An Industrial Ecology Framework for the Coega IDZ East of the Coega River Masterplan; Development of a Low Carbon Action Plan for South Africa; The South African Coal Roadmap (SACRM)
Climate risks and opportunities
Organisations are realising their exposure to climate change risks, ranging from those associated with the carbon intensity of their goods and services which may make them less competitive, to risks affecting their suppliers and markets, to broader risks associated with society and the economy. At the same time, there are substantial opportunities in a green economy.
The Green House has extensive experience in working with organisations to develop a deep understanding of such opportunities and risks, and providing advice on how organisations can build resilience to future events. This work links closely with our work in technology assessment.
Climate risk and opportunity work is often undertaken as part of a broader sustainability strategy, and also helps to inform companies’ CDP submissions.
Case Studies: Anglo American Scope 3 Assessment; Investigation into the use of economic instruments to support greenhouse gas mitigation; Development of a Low Carbon Action Plan for South Africa; The South African Coal Roadmap (SACRM)
Scenarios and Futures
Our scenarios and futures work is about helping organisations think about the future they want and how to achieve it. Scenario building sets out to describe a range of possible futures and unpack what might cause these futures to come about. Scenarios typically map out a wide range of future, often challenging, possibilities, and so can be used to explore the outer limits of what might evolve. This understanding helps organisations to explore where they want to position themselves and how they can build resilience to possible future events.
Scenarios are best developed collaboratively, and The Green House has experience in structuring and facilitation of the processes that underpin this powerful approach to planning and decision-making.
Development of policy requires a sound quantitative understanding of the implications of policy interventions for both business and the environment. The Green House has been commissioned on a variety of projects to provide such quantitative data, including through analyses such as those of potential emission trajectories of individual sectors under various scenarios, and the ability of different firms to adapt to rising energy prices and emission taxes.
Material Flow Analysis
Material flow analysis (MFA) is a modelling approach based on the mass balance principle that investigates the flows of a material through a system. Application of MFA may be of benefit in understanding where inherent characteristics (such as toxicity) of materials may result in the greatest impacts; determining where environmental impacts arise in the supply chain; or in understanding economic value and costs associated with safe handling or disposal of materials.
Examples of applications of MFA include the investigation of substance flows through a geographically defined economic system (e.g. iron through a city to quantify recycling potential), as well as those relating to a wider range of ‘materials’ and systems, for example analysis of the flow of electric batteries through the world economy to investigate hazardous disposal loads. The Green House has used MFA to frame a number of studies we have undertaken.
With our academic and technical background, The Green House is well placed to undertake research on a diverse range of specialist topics, including qualitative assessment of environmental impact and exploratory “blue skies” research. Previous work has resulted in position papers, book chapters, handbooks and new methods we apply in our work.
Case Studies: LCA of Milk Production in the Western Cape; An Industrial Ecology Framework for the Coega IDZ East of the Coega River Masterplan; Investigation into the use of economic instruments to support greenhouse gas mitigation; Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption and Production into National Development Planning with a focus on developing countries; Development of a Low Carbon Action Plan for South Africa; The South African Coal Roadmap (SACRM)