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Tanita Mehta

March 31, 2023

The Future of Sustainability in South Africa: Insights from the 1.5 Degree Conference in Cape Town

If you're unsure about South Africa's potential for sustainable growth, let me share my experience at the 1.5 Degree Conference in Cape Town. The gathering of small to medium sized businesses showcased an exciting future for sustainability in the country, with both innovative start-ups and established companies leading the way. It's become clear that sustainability isn't just a buzzword or trend, but essential for the future of not only South Africa, but the entire planet. Join me as I share what I witnessed at this inspiring event and why I'm feeling hopeful about the future of sustainability in the country.

Tweak Carbon

Upon entering, Old Mutual’s iconic green colours were present, featuring Tweak’s carbon quiz. We are a sustainability-tech start-up, part of Next176, powered by Old Mutual. Completing the quiz will provide you with a personalised report on the size and impact of your carbon footprint, with tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle. We, at Tweak, aim to democratise environmental impact data, so every person can discover the impact of their purchases. Visit our website and sign up to find out more information.

Cloudy Deliveries

A sustainable courier company based in Cape Town. Their mission is to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector by providing zero-emission, last-mile deliveries. Their fleet consists entirely of electric vehicles and bicycles, and they use renewable energy sources to charge their vehicles. Cloudy Deliveries has received recognition for their sustainable efforts, including winning the "Most Innovative Sustainable Business" award at the 2019 Western Cape Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards. They have successfully delivered over 30,000 packages without producing any carbon emissions and partnered with local businesses to provide sustainable delivery solutions.


A South African mining company that aims to promote sustainable resource management and improve lives in Africa and beyond, through responsible mining, community engagement, and innovative thinking. They prioritise environmental impact by promoting biodiversity, reducing emissions, and conserving water. Exxaro also supports local communities by providing education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. Their innovative approach shows that economic growth can be achieved without harming the planet and people.


The South African Breweries (SAB) and Corona have teamed up with Ramtsilo, a local waste management and recycling company, to tackle plastic pollution in South Africa. Together, they aim to achieve a Net Zero Plastic Footprint and strengthen the plastic recycling chain in the country, with Ramtsilo leading the way. This collaboration is a powerful example of how small actions can make a big difference when working towards a sustainable future.

Urban Surfer

Urban Surfer is passionate about creating positive change in South Africa. One way they are doing this is by supporting the efforts of informal waste reclaimers. These individuals work tirelessly to collect and sort recyclable materials, often in difficult conditions. Their mission is to empower reclaimers with a sense of dignity and belonging, as well as a sustainable income for themselves and their families. By working together, Urban Surfer and informal waste reclaimers are helping to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all South Africans.


GreenSet provides eco-friendly products and services for individuals, businesses, and communities to reduce their environmental impact. They offer green energy solutions, waste management, and recycling, among other sustainable solutions. GreenSet operates under the SA Film Academy to help the industry adopt universal, standardised measures to reduce its environmental impact. Their goal is to promote a cleaner and more sustainable future through innovative and inspiring sustainability practices.

Plant the Seed

A social enterprise that aims to help individuals, households, and businesses reduce their waste and environmental impact. Their mission is to provide accessible, affordable, and practical tools and resources to help South Africans transition towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Their zero waste toolkit includes online courses, consulting services, and a range of sustainable products. The company also works with schools and communities to educate and inspire people to live more sustainably.

Infinite Industries

Infinite Industries prides itself on providing innovative and eco-friendly solutions for waste management and recycling. Their mission is to create a cleaner and more sustainable future by promoting a circular economy and reducing waste. Through their work, they aim to minimise the environmental impact of waste and create economic opportunities for communities. Their previous work includes partnering with major companies and organisations to implement sustainable waste management practices and collaborating with communities to create recycling initiatives that benefit both the environment and the local economy.

Chair Club

A sustainable furniture company with a mission to make a positive impact on the environment by repurposing discarded materials into beautiful and functional pieces of furniture. The company aims to reduce waste and contribute to a greener future by using eco-friendly and sustainable materials to create their products. Their objectives include providing quality and affordable furniture solutions to customers while also creating job opportunities for local communities. From restaurants and hotels to residential properties, Chair Club inspires people to make a difference in the world.

In conclusion, the 1.5 Degree Conference in Cape Town highlighted South Africa's commitment to sustainable growth and development. From innovative start-ups to established corporations, businesses showcased exciting solutions to some of the country's most pressing sustainability challenges. The partnerships and collaborations of these companies demonstrate that even small actions can have a significant impact when working together towards a common goal.

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