Thursday, 10 December 2015 23:46

Can eco-innovation provide sustainable development in developing countries?

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Infrastructure can only benefit future generations and contribute to development if it is sustainable. 

As an investment in long-term economic growth, planning, designing and building of infrastructure must not only benefit development, but also the environment. Sustainable infrastructure must be designed to create a balance between social, economic and environmental issues.

Therefore basic infrastructure is not a luxury, but rather a necessity to support and create a sustainable economic environment Frans Pienaar, Chairman of Inyatsi Construction, explains the importance of incorporating the principles of eco building in the construction of schools, hospitals and shopping centres.

Ecological innovation has contributed to sustainable development, especially in the developing world, but remains a challenge due to the prices of eco-friendly products, says Frans Pienaar, Chairman of Inyatsi Construction, a construction company involved in building infrastructure in Southern African countries. 

“Materials and specifications for civil engineering and construction projects change with the times and the industry is forced to adjust to using new materials and processes. The impact of ecological innovation on building methods requires us to use more efficient and ecologically sensitive equipment and materials. It has become the norm and if you do not use it, you become obsolete.”

Frans, explains that the extraordinary benefits of highly energy-efficient building products are negated in practice, due to suppliers and manufacturers making undue profits out of new innovations in the environmental field.   

“The cost of solar heating systems, for example, does not reflect the cost of the materials or the technology involved.  As long as there are so few innovators and manufacturers in this industry, it will take unnecessarily long to realise the benefits of using new technology.  Simple technologies and materials are sold at exorbitant prices because contractors are required to implement them,” he says.

Pienaar, suggests that governments can assist the industry by regulating the prices of new technology aimed at sustainable development to prevent abuse by manufacturers. “The commercial application of knowledge to develop products and processes that contribute to sustainable development, must not price itself out of the market.”

Last modified on Friday, 11 December 2015 09:04

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