This week sees the launch of a year-long initiative funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), titled Green Growth in Practice: Lessons from Country Experiences. Celine Herweijer, and Lit Ping Low are part of the team from PwC contributing to the initiative, and share their perspectives.
Governments, and indeed businesses, need growth. But the 20th century model of growth can often come at the expense of the environment. In the 21st century, the potential collisions of megatrends such as the onset of climate change, shifts in the global economic power, urbanization and demographic changes, means there’s an increasing recognition of the need to achieve sustained economic growth alongside broader environmental and social objectives. In other words, green growth is likely to be on the target list for most country leaders.
A new report this week – “Green Growth in Practice: Lessons from Country Experiences” –attempts to help policy makers, planners and practitioners toward this target. The report is sponsored by CDKN, ECF and GGGI, developed by over 75 international authors, and covers 60 international case studies and systematic best practices and benefits for green growth. It covers a diverse range of topics including planning, communications, policy design, public-private working, monitoring and evaluation to name a few.
If there’s one thing the report reflects is that the pursuit of green growth isn’t a one-size fit all agenda. There is no uniform model of green growth. It is a local objective, tailored to local preferences and circumstances. The pathway to green growth will also vary. What is common is that those seeking green growth focus on leveraging the synergies between economic, environmental and social dimensions, while managing the trade-offs efficiently. For example in many developing countries the focus is how can you achieve rapid economic growth, how you address poverty alleviation, and the impacts of climate change. In many developed countries, and indeed emerging economies, the focus is around how to reinvigorate stalled economies or to find new engines or growth, low carbon sectors could be one such opportunity.
What is also common is the need to engage with the people, organizations and existing structures that could either drive or are affected by green growth.
In particular the private sector has a vital role to play, and a collaborative relationship between governments and private sector is more likely to result in outcomes that are more than the sum of what their separate efforts would yield.
Collaboration between the public and private sectors need not necessarily imply transfers of money. For example it is increasingly recognized that barriers to innovation could include training, types of infrastructure and better links to the markets. So the conventional model of grant-giving may not apply in many cases. Non-financial, strategic support, on the other hand, can help unlock small bottlenecks today to enable innovation to move from lab to market. For example, the UK government supported the Business Innovation Facility program (BIF), which provides advice and technical assistance to support businesses in developing countries tackling environmental and social challenges.
The compendium of case studies such as BIF that comes with the launch of the “Green Growth in Practice”initiativehopes to inspire solutions for policymakers worrying about the green growth challenge. Understanding the relevant lessons from the initiative, that suits their local context, will help avoid potential pitfalls and possibly – quite possibly – make the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy a little easier.
Celine Herweijer is a partner in Sustainability and Climate Change, and a contributing author to a chapter in Green Growth on Assessing and Communicating the Benefits of Green Growth. Lit Ping Low, through CDKN, is a contributing author to the chapter on Public-Private Collaboration. Find out more through CDKN's blog here.