Resourcing for the long term: Transnet of tomorrow
The current linear model of growth, founded on resource consumption and pollutant emissions, is unsustainable. Transitioning towards a more circular economy will require fundamental changes to Transnet’s business model. Disruptive innovation is already reshaping our existing business model and how we prepare for the ‘Transnet of tomorrow’.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) commissioned an analysis of the options for a green economy transition for selected key economic sectors in South Africa, at the request of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs1. The findings reflect that longer-term sustainable growth is related to the management of natural resources. Increasing the efficiency of use and curbing waste of such resources would reduce the decline – and support the growth – of some capitals.
Transnet has developed the Sustainability Risks and Opportunities Assessment (Transnet SROA©)2 methodology to:
- Identify risks and trends that have a likelihood of occurring over Transnet’s long-term planning period (30 years), that would have a high impact on Transnet’s ability to deliver on its mandate; and
- Identify and recommend opportunities to enhance value creation over the long term.
Analysis of Transnet’s long-term sustainability risks and trends identified six key emerging risk areas, with their parallel emerging opportunities, namely:
- Circular Economy3
- Disruptive Technology4
- Social Inequality
1 UNEP: South African Green Economy Modelling Report, 2013.
2 The SROA process was driven by a 27-participant team from multiple disciplines, of which 17 were Transnet employees. The SROA team performed a scenario analysis on the six risk areas to determine how each risk may evolve over the next 30 years. A valuable outcome of the process was a set of recommendations for diversifying revenue streams, harnessing co-benefit opportunities and reducing operating costs based on re-imagining the ‘Transnet of tomorrow’ from a sustainability perspective.
3 An alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
4 Technological innovations that create new market and value networks and eventually disrupt an existing market and value network.