The Sasol Envirobox Programme: Environmental Education and Training for Sustainable Development provides environmental education and training for sustainable development in response to the environmental challenges and opportunities in Sasol’s fenceline communities.
The project, started in 2017, focuses on connecting environmental awareness with economic opportunity, giving those in disadvantaged communities the chance to positively change their lives and their futures in ways that are sustainable.
“We wanted to find a way of tackling the challenges of the 21st century in a relevant way,” says Carol Paton, portfolio manager: Sasol environmental portfolio: social investment. “We wanted to move away from environmental education as it has been done to death and hasn’t delivered the right results. What we wanted was sustainable development and education that makes a difference and that goes a lot deeper than before.”
For Sasol, the environment is more than just a backdrop for socioeconomic activities, but a life-sustaining imperative that underpins the wellbeing of its fenceline communities. The programme was created as a response to the environmental challenges and opportunities faced by these people, and is focused on preventing or mitigating threats through collaboration and innovation.
“The project was started in 2017 and was endorsed by the department of basic education within the year,” says Paton. “The accompanying toolkit we developed was then certified by Radchem. Today, we are exposing people to the alternatives that exist in the environmental space and we have demonstrated this to more than 20 000 people in six months. It has had a remarkable impact.”
The core goal that underpins the success of the programme lies in its focus on economic opportunity. It ensures that the there are adequate financial and non-financial resources included in the programme along with smart technology and solutions. In addition, a school programme is on the cards with the hope that the learnings will be incorporated into the core curriculum.
“We have already had some amazing success stories,” concludes Paton. “When a former drug addict tells you that they now have a reason to stand up every day and live their lives with purpose, you know you are doing something right. There is now a huge demand for intake on the programme and we have expanded into waste management, food production and even water systems. We are so hopeful that this work will give the next generation so much more to live for.”