The Green Outcomes Fund (GOF) is a first of its kind structure, which supports and incentivises local South African fund managers to increase investment in green Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). The Green Outcomes Fund aims to achieve clearly defined green outcomes, encourage greater capital allocation to green businesses by local fund managers, and catalyse higher quality, consistent reporting of green impacts.
The world urgently needs to move towards models where economic growth is decoupled from natural resource use and climate mitigation pathways. In South Africa, this means investment in businesses that can generate verifiable green outcomes whilst creating jobs, including in energy, water, waste, infrastructure and land management.
SMMEs are the backbone of the economy, creating jobs, uplifting communities, and supporting economic development. Green SMMEs do all this while also creating positive and sustainable effects on the environment. Despite their potential for significant impact on society and the planet, they face significant challenges in accessing the investment capital they need to grow and scale. Local investors associate high risks and costs with green SMMEs – a new, early-stage, untested market.
Through a partnership officially signed on 31 January 2020 between National Treasury’s Jobs Fund and GreenCape, the Green Outcomes Fund (GOF) provides outcomes-based matched (concessional) funding to local investment funds (our Catalytic Finance Partners) to support investments into local SMMEs that make a demonstrable contribution to South Africa’s green economy, as well as job and enterprise creation in priority impact areas. This is also made possible by catalytic support from the RMB Fund (part of the FirstRand Foundation).
The aim of the GOF is to incentivise local fund managers to use new approaches and financing models to target high potential and fast-growing SMMEs operating in South Africa’s green economy. The funding will enable lending and investment on terms to SMMEs which would not be feasible without the GOF’s support. The GOF will ultimately blend concessionary funding with private capital, thus enabling participating CFPs to develop and adapt their SMME investment criteria and support services in ways that were not previously possible – realising greater impact in terms of the types of SMMEs funded and green outcomes created.
GOF’s pilot phase is funded by the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa’s Jobs Fund, together with catalytic support from the RMB Fund (part of the FirstRand Foundation). Together, the entities representing both the private and public sector have committed a total of R92.6million in grant funding, catalysing R395.5 million in investment capital from local investment funds, called GOF Catalytic Finance Partners (CFPs).
The current CFPs to GOF include Business Partners Ltd, Conservation International Ventures, Edge Growth and Mergence Investment Managers. In total, R488.1 million in capital is mobilised through GOF for investment into South African green SMMEs.
The GreenCape Sector Development Agency is the Jobs Fund Partner to GOF. GOF’s Design Partners include GreenCape, UCT GSB’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, WWF-SA, and The World Bank’s Climate Technology Programme.