EThekwini Municipality together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have collaborated to develop a front-end filter that will assist the City to make robust decisions to ensure a sustainable and just economic recovery from COVID-19. The Filter has been developed to guide and shape economic recovery interventions in line with critical socio-economic and ecological parameters that are important to eThekwini Municipality’s future ambition.
The Sustainability Filter is a high-level filter aimed at providing broad strategic guidance. The objective of the Sustainability Filter is to provide a set of quantitative and qualitative parameters that will guide and support decision makers to include sustainability considerations in the planning and implementation of capital (and other) projects and investments. The aim of the Sustainability Filter is to guide strategic thinking in order for projects to align with broader sustainability requirements and to initiate discussions for projects to perform well through the spectrum of parameters. Importantly, the Sustainability Filter is not a substitute for existing regulated assessments like the Environmental Impact Assessment, but rather an aid to decision making that promotes sustainability in the City.
Purpose of the Sustainability Filter
The purpose of the Sustainability Filter is to ensure that proposed capital (and other) projects and investments consider a broader suite of parameters when assessing their potential impact. It is not enough to evaluate developments/projects through economic lenses only – equal consideration also needs to be given to broader socio-economic, environmental and cross-cutting aspects that collectively contribute towards more sustainable investments.
How is the tool structured?
The Sustainability Filter is currently on an excel sheet. The Filter looks at three categories of parameters i.e. socio-economic, environmental, and cross-cutting. The parameters under the socio-economic category evaluates whom the proposed project will be benefiting, how it aims to promote upskilling, whether the project will promote a just economic transition and will it enhances service delivery to the previously disadvantaged groups.
The environmental parameter seeks to investigate the following: will the proposed project support a shift towards a circular green economy and will the project aim to positively or negatively impact habitat use and minimise negative impacts on the environment.
The parameter under cross-cutting relates to climate change investigating whether the project seeks to advance the work on climate change adaptation and/or mitigation in the city. The parameter also seeks to investigate if the project will enhance smart densification and planning. A summary of the Sustainability Filter is provided in Figure 1 below of the all the parameters and the strategic questions contained in the Sustainability Filter.
Figure 1: A summary of the Sustainability Filter