External Journals

Friday, 10 August 2018

Sustainability Transitions in South Africa

  • Year: 2018
  • Organisation: Routledge Studies in Sustainability

Sustainability Transitions in South Africa - Edited by Najma Mohamed

Sustainability book


TIPS collaborates on book investigating South Africa’s progress in transitioning to a just and sustainable development pathway

South Africa’s progress in transitioning to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and pro-employment development path is the focus of a book that brings together the experience and insights of leading thinkers on sustainable development in the country.

The book, Sustainability Transitions in South Africa, was edited by Climate, Sustainability and Environmental Specialist Dr Najma Mohamed and includes contributions from a range of South African and other experts including TIPS Senior Economist: Sustainable Growth Gaylor Montmasson-Clair. The book highlights that, while South Africa has committed itself to the transition to a green economy, as reflected in the enactment of numerous policies, the process remain socially exclusive.

The contributors to the book reflect a commitment towards environmental and social justice and, as such, investigate the extent to which justice and social inclusivity is being addressed in the design and implementation of sustainability transition pathways in South Africa.

In investigating this, the authors acknowledge that policies are in place but question whether inclusivity and just transition are a focus. They point out that a just transition has the potential to address the social ills in the country. However, what is critical is that policy alignment and implementation is promoted from a socio-economic and environmental perspective with priority given to the country’s key challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. If there is no conscious understanding of the implications of the transition, then these issues will not be addressed.

Taking up the issue of unemployment, for example, Gaylor Montmasson-Clair explores the employment implications of the transition to a sustainable development pathway. He points out that numerous policy documents talk to the employment potential of so-called green jobs. However, a deeper understanding is needed to fully embrace the employment dynamics. He therefore calls for a multi-dimensional baseline of the sustainability employment spectrum, considering the nature of the industries in which the jobs take place, the nature of occupations, and the quality of labour conditions. This, he argues, will provide a systemic analysis of employment in sustainability transitions and thereby enable the development of targeted policies and programmes.

Overall, the various contributions to the book explore the transition to a sustainable development pathway from economic, technological, social and environmental drivers. They provide a synthesis of theoretical insights, including new models and concepts, and praxis through illustrations from South Africa’s growing landscape of green economy policies and programmes.

If you would like more information about this book, please contact Najma Mohamed at or

For more information about the book, and to order copies visit: