By Sage & Sunday ///
I will never forget the first time I walked into a South African food outlet and ordered a burger wrapped in plastic. As I pondered the food before me, its clear plastic wrapping covered every inch of the item. I was so confused. Why did they need to wrap it in plastic? It was one of those moments I realised just how much we don't know about our own country regarding sustainable living and green initiatives.
Yet, It's an exciting time for sustainability in South Africa. With government and businesses doubling down on policies and projects that focus on environmental and social issues, we're seeing real progress towards changing our world's future.
Below you'll find five initiatives in and around South Africa that are putting their hearts into creating a sustainable and inclusive industry.
Moksi is an innovative multi-vendor, web-based company that offers a digital marketplace that caters for artisans, designers, craftsmen/women, and creators who produce exquisite high-quality handmade items. Moksi is fervently inspired by the idea of liberating the passion for crafts by supporting the “handmade movement”. The industrial age with mass production has unfortunately cut deeply into these ancient arts, with many fading over time.
“We believe that there is nothing better than owning something that has been handmade by a skilled artisan that you know has developed rare, refined skills to make something beautiful, unique and of excellent quality.”
Many of the world’s most desirable brands still stand by the allure of the word “handmade”, being inextricably coupled with quality. Moksi wants to bring the soul back to the atelier. They believe crafting and artisanship are not necessarily about creating perfectly because beauty often lies in imperfection. Artisans require the space and time to finish a product and explore their expression and talent of mastering their craft.
They fervently stand for supporting local handmade artisans. As you browse through their range of products, know that these products are handcrafted and unique. Appreciate the thought, design, hours, and creative process that led to the eventual completion of the craft.
When you buy through Moksi, you are purchasing authenticity. You deserve a limited edition.
Cosmic Bazaar is rooted in providing our country with local, natural, and organic herbs and medicines. Promoting native plant species and, in many ways, health through medicine found in the land we live on.
Their ethos as a company is to be as environmentally friendly and conscious as possible – this entails sourcing all of their products ethically and ensuring that everything in their store is 100% natural and sustainably produced. When feasible, they source our products from our local community or South Africa, supporting our fellow brothers and sisters.
"Cosmic Bazaar is our freedom. Developing this platform for our creation has been the doorway to our liberation!
The purpose of their platform is to provide a space for creators, such as ourselves, who have products to sell- but may not have the means or time to develop their web stores or travel to markets every week. As small business owners, they know each one of their suppliers personally and have intimate knowledge of the sourcing and production processes. Many of their products are made by their family and friends, and most are homemade. They use each one of their products and only sell products they are passionate about.
Unnecessary packaging and disposable items have turned us into a careless society, disconnected from the well-being of our planet. It seems easier to throw things away and buy more rather than rethink our choices. But at what cost? Earth’s future and our own with it? Since 2017 they've been allowing South Africans to shop with little to zero waste, which helps prevent and divert trash from landfills. Customers are encouraged to buy only what they need and use reusable packaging.
“How do we practise ‘Earthlove’? Reducing our carbon footprint is one way to show our planet how much we love it, but we can do much more.”
All online orders from Shop Zero come with a special seeded ‘thank you’ note – one that you can literally plant and then watch grow. The cards are made of previously used paper and contain marigold seeds to attract pollinators to your garden. This helps protect our rapidly decreasing bee populations. Without bees, we would have no food security, so let’s do our part in helping them to continue pollinating our fruits and vegetables.
You’ll also receive a free Spekboom cutting with your online order. This super plant helps fight air pollution and is super easy to grow – you can even make vegan brownies with it. Yum yum!
“It’s a climate crisis, and we can take action together – one Spekboom cutting at a time. This is also part of our effort to offset our carbon footprint for importing certain products.”
Shop Zero is involved in various projects in and around Cape Town, supporting local industries and creating a more sustainable future for all of us.
- They’ve cleared 1389.5 kg of trash off the beach during their beach cleaning activities, and they especially love joining their friends, The Future Kids, on their cleanup days.
- They’ve helped customers divert plastic from landfills by collecting their ecobricks.
- They visit schools and host talks on plastic pollution.
- They support Greenpop’s reforestation projects by selling their tree rings and ‘Arise Coffee’, where one tree is planted for every 3kg sold.
- They help fund 7SEASROPE‘s beach cleanups by selling their handcrafted bracelet made from materials retrieved from the sea and their earrings made from microplastics collected during beach cleanup projects. They also carry their Microplastics Key Clip. 7SEASROPE™ is also involved in providing education and research to combat the problem caused by plastics that are polluting our oceans and beaches.
- They sell turtle funding jewellery from ocean, beach, mountain trails or roadside plastic. For each ‘Plantangle’ you buy, R60 will be donated to the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Turtle Rehabilitation Programme. Shop Zero will donate an additional R25 to The Beach Co-op and a further R25 donation to Sanccob’s Penguin Rehabilitation Programme.
Jor and Gee met working together back in October 2019 and as they say, the rest is history! With Jor having only being back in South Africa for a year, after spending 6 years on a secluded island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and Gee having moved to Durban after studying in Cape Town and braving two corporate companies in Joburg; and being the clued-up Gen-Z that she is, they immediately fell in-sync with each other as they fed off each other’s knowledge in ways neither of them imagined possible. Not only did they become Durban-Sisters, but they also worked hard together, solving the world’s problems in the workplace, in matters of the heart, confided in each other about family and, of course, they both love a good bottle of vino (or two).
"If we look back in history, the most significant and memorable changes to the existence of humans revolve around some sort of crisis, where we are forced to be extraordinary; to change without notice, to adapt and to shift our views on what matters most to us."
Browse Local is fully committed to giving back to the community and will donate 5% of every subscription to a charity of their choice. They would like to support charities that are important to their subscribers, as well as their consumers therefore would love for you to send them your favourite charities that you want to see them work with.
They envision supporting causes they and their subscribers can get involved with if they can, for example, the firemen during the Cape Town fires or food parcels in times of crisis. Browse Local's team will send regular updates on how these funds are used and where and whom they have helped. They would also like to use some of these funds to get local businesses off the ground and have an application process for financial assistance.
The V&A Waterfront is an iconic mixed-use destination located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. With Table Mountain as its backdrop, the 123-hectare neighbourhood sits within the beautiful city of Cape Town, welcoming millions of people from all over the continent and the rest of the world.
The V&A is a symbol of heritage and diversity, where people from all walks of life can play, live, shop, dine and work while immersed in the vibrant spirit and authentic local culture in this bustling ecosystem. It sees its role on the continent as a platform that facilitates and champions art and design, supports entrepreneurship and innovation, leads the charge on sustainability, and drives positive social and economic change.
"By prioritising people and the planet, the V&A shows how working with communities, respecting the environment, and operating with passion and integrity is a better, more productive, and kinder way of doing business."
The organisation sees the opportunity to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, complete and adequate employment, and decent work, aligning with the United Nation’s Sustainable Goals. The V&A
Waterfront started its sustainability journey in 2008, increasing the energy efficiency, water savings and waste recycling across this 123-hectare property. It has also introduced several other greening initiatives across the precinct. The V&A sees its role on the continent to be a platform that facilitates and champions art and design, to support entrepreneurship and innovation, leads the charge on sustainability, and drives positive social and economic change. By prioritising people and the planet, the V&A shows how working with communities, respecting the environment, and operating with passion and integrity is a better, more productive, and kinder way of doing business.
These local initiatives play a large part in creating awareness of sustainability, and they are helping to build South Africa's reputation as a leader in environmental and social responsibility. These notable organisations have shown that combining commerce with sustainability is possible. But what is even more exciting is that there are other local businesses out there who could benefit from similar initiatives. We can only hope that they will be inspired and motivated to act against climate change for their part, for the greater good.