Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has partnered with the Green Youth Network (GYN) to support the ambition of integration of young people in the circular green economy.
The company believes these platforms will contribute to sustainable employment opportunities where young people can see the benefit of turning waste into a resource.
The GYN held a series of provincial roadshows at different venues across South Africa in recent months as part of efforts to talk about opportunities in the Green Economy and the important role of creating more circular economies.
CCBSA has supported the GYN at its annual Indaba which took place in Durban earlier this year, and during the provincial roadshows since inception in 2014. The 2023 roadshows were held to acclimatise youth to the Green Youth Indaba 2024 taking place in June next year, and to assist youth in understanding the importance of leveraging science, technology, and innovation to create sustainable waste management solutions that can create meaningful livelihoods.
Nozicelo Ngcobo, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director at CCBSA, said the company was investing in programmes that address youth and women unemployment and including young people in the waste circular economy, which has become a priority for the company.
In 2018, the Coca-Cola system in South Africa launched the World Without Waste Vision 2030. “It is our strategy to make a positive impact on the environment by collecting waste, designing innovative packaging with a longer lifespan and forging partnership that will enable us to co-create solutions that will not only ensure we reduce waste but integrate young people in the waste value chain and show them the financial benefits of being part of the green economy”, said Ngcobo.
The Green Youth Indaba in one such platform launched to show young people the opportunities in this space that can help reduce unemployment. In June, the Indaba attracted over 700 young environment leaders who used the conference to engage, participate in discussions, and workshops to come up with solutions to environmental and waste challenges and most importantly, encouraged networking.
The subsequent provincial Green Youth Network roadshows built on this engagement and were primarily aimed at showing young students the opportunities presented by a just transition and how this could help address the g high rate of youth unemployment and improve skills amongst youth.
“The objective of this year’s roadshows was to go beyond exploring opportunities for youth within the green economy, but to effectively explore and unpack necessary strategies that can create easy access to support youth businesses and funding for green innovation and the skills transfer needed to eradicate youth unemployment and poverty,” said Green Youth Network CEO, Sanele Zulu
According to Zulu, youth and young professionals should start paying attention to research and technology solutions based on supporting themes such as Climate Change, Water Quality, Big Data, Waste Management and Biotechnology.
The theme for this year’s Green Youth Indaba was “Promoting Youth Participation and Sustainable Skills Development For A Just Transition”. Since inception in 2014, The Green Youth Network has successfully hosted eight Annual Green Youth Indaba conferences, developing a network of over 10,000 young leaders from different parts of Southern Africa.
For more information about The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste strategy by 2030 on https://www.coca-cola.co.za/sustainability/world-without-waste