A South African entrepreneur has established the country’s first “green” financing company – an institution which finances sustainable projects only and which is backed by investors seeking to help protect the environment and alleviate poverty.
Called Water Financial
the company is led by reputable banker and entrepreneur Chris Loker and is currently involved in sustainable financing projects of around R65-million. Its launch comes amid the ongoing global financial crisis precipitated in part by corporate banking and in the wake of a survey by Ernst & Young which found that nearly half of South Africans no longer trust their banks.
Loker’s initiative, which is also aimed at establishing South Africa’s first “green” or sustainable bank, comes during worldwide protests against corporate greed -- particularly within the banking sector -- galvanised under the Occupy Wall Street campaign.
Loker, former COO of 20/20 banking in South Africa, said there was a groundswell of ordinary citizens wanting to invest in a sustainable future. But, they needed organisations -- such as sustainable banks – for this to happen. In this regard, Loker said Water Financial would apply for a bank licence and will channel investment funding into projects such as solar panel financing schemes, timber housing developments and community-driven sustainable initiatives.
Loker said there were signs of an increased focus on a green economy in SA: “President Jacob Zuma has urged that the country be developed sustainably, and job creation is seen as one of the key potential benefits. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has estimated that 300 000 jobs could be created in the next 10 years in the renewable energy sector alone,” he added.
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