The Green Fund, the fifth fund of Anglo American’s enterprise development arm, Zimele, has had an overwhelmingly positive response, since it officially launched in November 2011.

The Fund, which aims to empower and encourage entrepreneurs to operate in the green economy, has received substantial interest from entrepreneurs wanting to get involved in a variety of green industries. These include renewable energy, biodiversity, biofuels, conservation, agriculture, waste management, energy efficiency, and water savings.

Managing Director of Zimele, Nick van Rensburg, says that this widespread interest proves that the Fund has immense viability and potential. “Anglo American has been very encouraged by the substantial response to the Green Fund since it was launched last year, which generated over 100 responses, 75% of which could be of interest. Therefore, we maintain that this interest is indicative of the considerable potential that exists for the Green Fund, as business people are eager to make a real difference to South Africa’s green evolution.”

However, van Rensburg adds that this considerable interest has also resulted in a lengthy process for approving funding.

“It is important to note that approving projects of this nature takes time, as many applications are technically based, and first have to undergo a comprehensive review process before being approved. Zimele’s technical committee first has to approve technical plans and specifications before a comprehensive due-diligence is conducted. We are however optimistic that we will begin seeing new projects join Zimele’s Green Fund by July this year.”

The Green Fund aims to target investment opportunities that mitigate carbon, reduce energy and water consumption, and improve waste and emissions management. The Fund is not only focused on the green agenda, but is also geared towards job creation and empowerment of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans.

Van Rensburg concludes that the Green Fund is set to make a significant contribution to the South African economy.

“Anglo American has no doubt that the Green Fund has the potential to empower communities and make a real difference to sustainable development, through the funding and creation of green businesses and technologies.

“Further to this, we firmly maintain that the Fund will encourage a greener way of thinking and living in these communities, and result in many more individuals and organisations becoming conscious of their role in making a positive difference to the environment.”