Sustainable Energy leaders to contribute to SA education

The work of Symphonia for South Africa (SSA) is to receive a sustainable financial boost through a collaboration with leaders in commercial-scale installations of solar Photovoltaic systems, Emergent Energy South Africa.

Emergent’s innovative project, Donate your Roof (DYR), seeks to encourage large corporates to ‘rent out’ their roofs for solar power generation. The savings accumulated from using solar power, as opposed to electricity provided by an already over-burdened Eskom, are then donated to Symphonia for SA.

Emergent CEO, Yoann Joyeux, explained why partnering with a progressive ‘’doers of society’’, like Symphonia SA, makes sense.

‘’The ‘rent your roof’ concept has already been implemented at large corporates such as shopping centres on a no strings attached basis.

Unfortunately, many of the corporates that were approached felt that they derived very little benefit from this, as the income generated through the “rent your roof” approach fell far below their annual income, and did not make a significant difference to their books.

We had to ask ourselves, ‘who would actually find value in this?’ We concluded that NGOs would benefit the most – and that’s how the DYR project was created, ‘’ said Yoann.

Utilising the roofs of large corporates to generate solar power has the potential to generate a guaranteed income of R100 000 per year over 20 years, with yearly escalations taken into account. This would be considerable cash injection for Symphonia SA, and goes some way in generating sustainable resources for its flagship programme, Partners for Possibility, in order to continue creating the leaders South Africa sorely needs.

Many benefits, too, are to be gained by corporates who decide to leverage this particular solar power financial solution through Emergent.

By donating valuable roof space, corporates can become catalysts for transformational change by funding an NGO like Symphonia. Other notable benefits include a ‘green’ power supply, positive marketing and branding opportunities, income and tax deductions, BBBEE benefits and - best of all – the process is free of charge.

Yoann said: ‘’Many of us want to contribute to change in some way, but we don’t know how. This is an opportunity that goes beyond ‘giving’. This is sustainable investment a corporate can make which leverages skills and is innovative.’’

When asked about the factors that draw the two organisations together, Yoann first elaborated on the unique way that Symphonia SA’s PfP programme tackles South Africa’s education crisis.

‘’Education tends to be a very gimmicky, generically-framed, over-simplified issue. To me, PfP has created a practical way to engage with the challenges. Its Theory of Change is powerful.

He then added: ‘’Even though Emergent is a purely commercially driven business, it is in our DNA to uplift people, while embracing different people.

Partnering with Symphonia SA will allow us as an organisation to reconcile who we are, in that, we can run a successful business and change the world at the same time. This, I believe, is what aligns the two organisations.’’

Yoann’s passion to drive tangible change in the world is also evident in his 12-month PfP partnership with Principal Nomonde Latha of Mthimkhulu Primary school in Vosloorus, Gauteng.

As a business leader on the programme, he has described the journey so far as one of ‘’assurance’’.

‘’Both my partner and I have come to the realisation that we all have the right ideas within us – we’re just going about it wrong because we are unfailingly human,’’ he said.

Yoann, who is originally from France, also spoke of his venture into unknown territory with the school.

‘’Coming from France, I believe I am quite au fait with South African culture, but a township isn’t a place I would normally go. However, one gets a sense of great unity when there,’’ he said.

With the level of support provided by PfP to each partnership, Yoann believes that it is ‘’almost impossible to fail’’.

‘’I loved PfP the first time I heard about it, and still love it now,’’ he remarked.

30 November -1, 00:00