The IFC at COP26 | Moving Cities to a Cleaner Future

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The IFC at COP26 | Moving Cities to a Cleaner Future

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Cities must play a critical role in addressing the causes of climate change and in preparing for resilience to climate effects.

Municipal governments must balance development needs with crisis response and long-term climate-smart planning. Cities can’t tackle these challenges alone; they must leverage private innovation and financing.

This event highlights the various roles that cities can play in addressing climate change: as regulators, project sponsors, fundraisers of capital, overseers of multi-connected systems, and as partners with the private sector, leveraging their relationship for green standards, innovation, technical expertise, and green finance. Case studies with speakers from around the world will illustrate each of these roles, highlight the sectors with some of the most pressing climate needs and with most opportunities, including green and resilient affordable housing, water and sanitation, and others.

Speakers

Moderator

Read the transcript


  • 00:12 [Elleanor Robins]: Hello, to all.  
  • 00:14 I'm delighted to welcome you to this  webinar, Moving Cities to a Cleaner Future.  
  • 00:20 My, my name is Elleanor Robins, and I'm a Senior  Investment Officer at IFC, the International  
  • 00:25 Finance Corporation. IFC is a member of the  World Bank Group, and it's the largest global  
  • 00:29 development finance institution focusing on  the private sector in developing countries.
  • 00:33 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 00:35 In our new climate action plan, the World  Bank Group has identified five key systems for  
  • 00:39 reducing emissions and limiting the worst impacts  of climate change. You won't be surprised to hear  
  • 00:45 that cities are one of these systems. They hold  tremendous potential to reduce greenhouse gases,  
  • 00:50 whilst also unlocking major economic  opportunities for their citizens.
  • 00:53 [Elleanor Robins]: At IFC, we believe that prioritizing climate  
  • 00:56 smart growth is an investment opportunity, both  for cities and for private sector partners. We've  
  • 01:01 invested that over 2.3 billion in climate smart  city related projects to date. And of course,  
  • 01:05 we think the opportunity is much, much larger. In  fact, in our recent report, Control-Alt-Delete,  
  • 01:11 A Green Reboot For Emerging Markets, we estimate  that if cities in the 21 emerging markets that  
  • 01:16 we studied, prioritize climate smart growth in  their post COVID recovery plans, they stand to  
  • 01:21 attract as much as $7 trillion in investments,  and could create 144 million new jobs by 2030.
  • 01:30 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 01:32 Now, we do know this won't be easy. Cities  face many hurdles, and we know that multiple  
  • 01:37 elements really have to come together to  achieve sustainable and green investment,  
  • 01:41 both in terms of policies, but also in terms of  partnerships and perseverance. We do believe the  
  • 01:48 private sector capital and innovation can  capitalize win-win solutions for cities.  
  • 01:52 And you'll hear about some really concrete  examples of how that can happen today.
  • 01:55 [Elleanor Robins]: But first, let me turn it over to  
  • 01:56 Alice Charles. Alice is the lead for Cities and  Real Estate at the World Economic Forum. Alice,  
  • 02:02 thank you so much for joining us today. And thank  you for helping us set the stage for this event.
  • 02:05 [Alice Charles]: Thank you very much, Elleanor.  
  • 02:07 It's a pleasure to be here today, and be part  of this stimulating conversation. I'm certainly  
  • 02:13 pleased to add my welcome and indeed, highlight  the critical role that cities must play in  
  • 02:21 addressing climate change, and delivering climate  resilience infrastructure around the world.
  • 02:26 [Alice Charles]: Municipal governments must  
  • 02:29 balance development needs with crisis response  and long term climate smart planning. Cities can't  
  • 02:36 tackle these challenges alone. They must  leverage the private sector, innovators,  
  • 02:43 and financiers, but also they  must be empowered by government.
  • 02:47 [Alice Charles]: Cities can take various roles in  
  • 02:51 addressing climate change. That can be the role,  for example, of regulator. They can raise the  
  • 02:57 bar in terms of minimum compliance. They can also  pass incentives for green and resilient solutions,  
  • 03:05 and create development zones with the right mix of  projects, so they can create a policy environment.
  • 03:11 [Alice Charles]: Cities can also act as a project sponsor.  
  • 03:17 Cities engage, for example, in  public-private partnerships,  
  • 03:21 to ensure that the services that they  need to be provided, can be provided.  
  • 03:25 That can be in the area of  housing, in transport, education,  
  • 03:29 utilities. So they can deliver green and  resilient infrastructure through PPP mechanisms.
  • 03:35 [Alice Charles]: They also can  
  • 03:37 act as a fundraiser of capital. So municipal  governments, for example, should utilize  
  • 03:44 dedicated green financing for their budgets,  especially when considering the growing evidence  
  • 03:50 that investors are willing to pay a premium for  green financing structures, such as green bonds.
  • 03:55 [Alice Charles]: Cities can also oversee multi-connected  
  • 04:00 systems. Cities must focus on long term  planning and interconnectedness between sectors,  
  • 04:07 and oversee these departments. So one example is  they, for example, can gather the multilevel of  
  • 04:14 governments, business, civil society, and  academia, that need to be working together to  
  • 04:20 decarbonize our energy grid infrastructure,  which often they may not have a primary  
  • 04:26 responsibility for it. But if they are to get  to net-zero, they have a significant impact.
  • 04:31 [Alice Charles]: Cities also, throughout their roles,  
  • 04:35 should partner with the private sector. They  can leverage these relationships to avail of  
  • 04:41 the latest in terms of green standards, innovative  practices, technical expertise, and green finance.  
  • 04:49 In today's event, you'll hear leading peer  studies that will illustrate some of these roles,  
  • 04:56 highlighting the sectors with most pressing  climate needs and the greatest opportunities.
  • 05:02 [Alice Charles]: Each sector and each city will require a  
  • 05:06 tailored approach based on their particular local  circumstances. We're confident that the examples  
  • 05:13 you'll hear today, are very much a call to action,  and will inspire you on journey of transition.  
  • 05:21 I will now head back to Elleanor, for the Q&A  section of the discussion with our panelists.
  • 05:27 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you so much,  
  • 05:28 Alice, for these opening remarks. Let's  now dive in and turn to the first sector  
  • 05:32 that we're going to be discussing today,  green, affordable, and resilient housing.  
  • 05:37 1.6 billion people are without adequate housing.  And whilst there's been a building boom,  
  • 05:42 it's not incorporating sustainability  considerations as fully as it could be.
  • 05:46 [Elleanor Robins]: In fact, residential buildings now represent 18%  
  • 05:50 of energy related greenhouse gas emissions. To  help us understand how housing can incorporate  
  • 05:57 green and resilient elements, yet still  remain affordable, I'm absolutely thrilled to  
  • 06:03 introduce Emma Imperial, the President and CEO of  Imperial Homes Corporation from the Philippines.
  • 06:09 [Elleanor Robins]: Welcome, Emma. Really delighted to  
  • 06:11 have you with us for this exciting conversation.  Perhaps we can jump right in and click off.  
  • 06:18 Please, could you just start by  telling us a little bit about  
  • 06:21 your company that I believe you founded close  to 40 years ago now, Imperial Homes Corporation?
  • 06:26 [Emma Imperial]: Imperial Homes Corporation  
  • 06:28 is the Philippines first PropTech technology  developer and the EDGE Champion for affordable  
  • 06:33 housing in the Philippines. We are building  solar-powered resilient communities  
  • 06:39 that mitigate climate change and lift the  standard living of the Filipinos. Our houses  
  • 06:45 are powered with solar, and built with [Conway  00:06:48] high performance concrete panels.
  • 06:49 [Emma Imperial]: It's a Danish innovation, and it's connected with  
  • 06:54 innovative digital technologies. This  one-of-a-kind innovation marks our market  
  • 07:00 differentiation. So it creates value and new  demand for green homes in the Philippines.  
  • 07:07 To date, we have built about 20,000 homes,  and 2,000 of them are actually eco-friendly.  
  • 07:17 In the next five years, we're going to  be building 10,000 homes of these types.
  • 07:21 [Elleanor Robins]: That's fantastic.  
  • 07:23 Thank you so much, Emma. What an amazing  accomplishment already in this space,  
  • 07:28 and an inspiration I'm sure to  many who are watching here today.
  • 07:31 [Elleanor Robins]: Now, I also understand  
  • 07:33 that Imperial Homes has made two very  significant pledges towards climate mitigate,  
  • 07:38 and also towards resilience. Could you tell  us a bit about those commitments, please?
  • 07:42 [Emma Imperial]: Back in 2014, when we  
  • 07:46 shifted our core business strategy from being  a traditional developer to a green developer,  
  • 07:53 we knew that there was no other way of going green  than fully committing ourselves to the vision of a  
  • 07:58 greener real estate. So Imperial Homes Corporation  supports International Finance Corporation  
  • 08:05 in its zero carbon program, by pledging 100% of  our development to have a net-zero environmental  
  • 08:14 impact by 2030. So we have committed about 300,000  square meters of zero carbon-ready buildings,  
  • 08:24 which we pledge for building resilience.
  • 08:26 [Emma Imperial]: Now, we currently have about 75,000 square meters  
  • 08:31 under the design stage, while more than 200,000  square meters are under the construction stage.  
  • 08:38 So IFCS also awarded us with advanced  EDGE certification because we achieved  
  • 08:44 the following energy efficiency ratings. For  energy, we achieved 71%, 44% on water, and 64%  
  • 08:55 on materials. We are actually the first developer  to reach this milestone, and it allowed us to  
  • 09:03 secure green financing for our home buyers,  which transforms their lives for the better.
  • 09:09 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 09:14 Thank you so much. Fascinating.  
  • 09:17 Could you talk us through why your company  made the decision to really embrace green and  
  • 09:23 resilient construction? How did that come about,  and what impact do you feel that it's having?
  • 09:31 [Emma Imperial]: Addressing the pressing  
  • 09:35 issues on the housing backlogs and  poverty and worsening climate change,  
  • 09:42 drives me in developing sustainable and  resilient communities in my country.  
  • 09:47 I believe that renewable energy and sources  and eco-friendly building materials are really  
  • 09:55 potent partners in creating a  sustainable and realistic industry.
  • 10:01 [Emma Imperial]: Both our solar solutions and  
  • 10:03 Conway high performance concrete panels, provide  utility savings and higher property value. Solar  
  • 10:11 solutions actually saved between 30 to 75% on  electricity cost. And with solar and net metering,  
  • 10:20 home buyers can save up to 1.9  million or $38,000 in 25 years,  
  • 10:27 giving them a yield of about 256%  over their loan amortization.
  • 10:33 [Emma Imperial]: So for these 550 units  
  • 10:38 in this net metered community, just for  an example, a staggering of about 1.16  
  • 10:45 billion pesos or 23 million savings for  25 years is created for our home buyers.  
  • 10:53 And concrete panels, which is the high performance  concrete panels, on the other hand, helps avoid  
  • 11:00 unnecessary costs on medical expenses and  home repairs due to their 14,000 PSI strength.
  • 11:09 [Emma Imperial]: It makes our house resistant to deterioration,  
  • 11:14 fire, earthquake, typhoon, and disease-causing  molds. So EDGE enables us to properly integrate  
  • 11:26 sustainable technologies into our planning and  design, focusing on the following considerations,  
  • 11:34 like window opening for natural light and airflow,  solar panels, faucets and fixtures to minimize  
  • 11:44 water consumption, and these high  performance building materials.
  • 11:48 [Emma Imperial]: The pandemic  
  • 11:51 actually serves as an eye-opener to many home  buyers in my country, on the value and importance  
  • 11:57 of sustainable and resilient properties.  The awareness and exposure of the market  
  • 12:04 to the challenges of the pandemic, prompts them to  seek healthier, safer, and more economical homes,  
  • 12:12 resulting in increasing demand for  properties with green features.
  • 12:16 [Emma Imperial]: In fact, in a country and in our  
  • 12:21 company, the good news is really that 78%  of the millennials are buying our homes.  
  • 12:30 These innovative technologies  will provide them significant  
  • 12:34 utility savings and protection from the harsh  effects of the pandemic and climate change.
  • 12:40 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 12:43 Thank you so much for walking  us through how in a really  
  • 12:47 practical way, this is a climate smart solution  that's really a win-win for the private sector,  
  • 12:54 but also for home buyers and individuals and  citizens. Really, really insightful. Thank you.
  • 12:59 [Elleanor Robins]: Perhaps turning to the enabling environment  
  • 13:04 and policies, how did public policies enable your  work in green construction? Were there specific  
  • 13:13 elements there that helped you develop  your green construction business?
  • 13:17 [Emma Imperial]: Yes, definitely. At Imperial Homes, we advocate  
  • 13:23 for collaboration across different sectors and  industries to solve the housing deficit in the  
  • 13:30 Philippines. Actually, it all started in the  very strong support from Pag-IBIG Fund. This  
  • 13:38 is a government-owned corporation that provides  affordable shelter financing for the Filipinos.
  • 13:45 [Emma Imperial]: Pag-IBIG has been financing our houses with solar  
  • 13:49 solutions since 2015. Without this financing,  solar won't fly for affordable housing market.  
  • 13:58 So today, home buyers prefer  housing with solar solution,  
  • 14:03 because they know they can save on electricity  cost for 25 years. Another government agency  
  • 14:11 here in our country is the Board of Investments.
  • 14:13 [Emma Imperial]: They have also extended  
  • 14:15 income tax holiday and other fiscal incentives  for Conway, our green building technology.  
  • 14:23 So in 2019, we were able to present a compelling  case at the Energy Regulatory Commission.  
  • 14:32 This is the regulatory body for the electric  power industry in the Philippines. As a result,  
  • 14:40 ERC issued a mended net metering program that  allows home owners to export excess electricity  
  • 14:49 to the grid, making them not only consumers,  but also producer of clean electricity as well.
  • 14:57 [Emma Imperial]: So the other agency that's also creating  
  • 15:03 some waves now, is the National Home Mortgage  Finance Corporation, NHMFC, who partner with IFC  
  • 15:14 in providing cheaper mortgage solutions through  the BALAI BERDE program. As a matter of fact,  
  • 15:20 Imperial Homes is the first recipient of this  program. So instead of paying between six to 8%  
  • 15:29 interest rates, our home buyers can now avail of  a housing loan with an interest of as low as 3%.
  • 15:37 [Emma Imperial]: 
  • 15:39 So let me share one great example. During  the height of the pandemic last year,  
  • 15:45 one of our home owners reported that he only  needed to pay an electricity bill of 30 cents,  
  • 15:52 which was already good for two months. So  this is a fantastic savings in times of  
  • 16:01 pandemic. The women in the community have also  started having their home-based businesses,  
  • 16:09 boosting their self-confidence  and their family income.
  • 16:12 [Emma Imperial]: So actually, we want success stories like this  
  • 16:17 in all the communities in our country. So  I'm very active, calling on all government  
  • 16:24 bodies to join us in this advocacy. I also try to  encourage all the Filipinos to make sustainable  
  • 16:32 agendas as their criterion in selecting their  government leader, the future government leaders.
  • 16:40 [Emma Imperial]: As you know, we will have election next year. So  
  • 16:45 it's very important that our leaders are  very, very keen on sustainable and resilient  
  • 16:55 programs. Because I feel that  a sustainable and resilient  
  • 17:00 future requires a whole of nation and a whole of  society approach. It requires immediate action  
  • 17:06 from good leaders that we will be  electing next year, and from everybody.
  • 17:13 [Emma Imperial]: As more home buyers  
  • 17:15 get access to sustainable and resilient homes, the  market will become more interested in investing in  
  • 17:21 eco-friendly houses, forcing real estate  developers to switch to innovative technologies.  
  • 17:29 So yes, we started this advocacy for the green  and affordable housing market in the Philippines,  
  • 17:36 but we believe that one company cannot really  do it alone to solve this housing backlog  
  • 17:45 that really has haunted the  Philippines for many years now.
  • 17:48 [Emma Imperial]: So, such a reality calls  
  • 17:53 for a greater collaboration. We're doing this for  the Philippines and the world, as well as for the  
  • 18:00 generations to come. We have the responsibility  to secure a greener future for the young.  
  • 18:10 So I really would like to appeal now to the  green investors and financing institutions,  
  • 18:19 to be more active in investing more  funds in green communities worldwide.
  • 18:24 [Emma Imperial]: We request a policy to  
  • 18:27 establish a special climate at business fund  to support small and medium-sized companies,  
  • 18:34 regardless of the size of the project, which  action is urgently needed today. So, thank you.
  • 18:41 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you so much, Emma, for  
  • 18:43 joining us today. And thank you for your insights  and your real leadership in this important space.  
  • 18:49 Now, we know that the need for climate smart  investments in water and sanitation is also  
  • 18:54 great. As much as 36% of the global  population lives in water-scare areas.
  • 18:59 [Elleanor Robins]: And this proportion is  
  • 19:00 expected to rise to 55% by 2050. So I'm delighted  to say that our next speaker is Teresa Vernaglia,  
  • 19:07 the CEO of BRK Ambiental, a leading  water and sanitation company in Brazil.  
  • 19:12 Welcome, Teresa. We're thrilled  to have you with us today.
  • 19:15 [Teresa Vernaglia]: 
  • 19:17 Thank you, Elleanor. It's a  pleasure to be here with you.
  • 19:19 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 19:21 Thank you. Could I ask you to please start by  introducing your company to our audience, and  
  • 19:26 telling us how BRK is integrating climate change  mitigation and adaptation in its operations?
  • 19:32 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Okay. Perfect. So BRK is one of the largest water  
  • 19:38 and wastewater platform with a national wide scale  in Brazil. We operate in 13 states, more than 100  
  • 19:47 municipals, and serving 60 million people. And  we were, Elleanor, the first private company  
  • 19:55 to service a full state in Brazil, Tocantins in  the North Region, with 1.5 million inhabitants.
  • 20:04 [Teresa Vernaglia]: We also operate the oldest water and  
  • 20:07 wastewater concession in Brazil. That's Limeira,  in the State of São Paulo, since 1995. And then we  
  • 20:17 won the first concession of water and wastewater  after the approval of the new regulatory framework  
  • 20:25 in the metropolitan region of Alagoas, in the  Northeast of Brazil, in last September in 2020.
  • 20:32 [Teresa Vernaglia]: And the investments in sanitation  
  • 20:35 is fully connected to the development of climate  change agenda, Elleanor. According to the report,  
  • 20:43 World Energy Outlook 2020 from  the International Energy Agency,  
  • 20:49 the water and wastewater industry accounts  for 4% of the total global electricity  
  • 20:56 consumption. On the other hand, if the water  and wastewater sector adopt measures to install  
  • 21:04 energy recovery for biogas, would enable itself to  generate over 50% more electricity than they need.
  • 21:14 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Today, only 6% of  
  • 21:17 the current wastewater process is used to  generate electricity. So in a sense, at BRK,  
  • 21:27 we have set a target of 90% of our electricity  consumption coming from renewable source,  
  • 21:38 which we will achieve by the end of this year,  expanding our [inaudible] plans. And furthermore,  
  • 21:47 another climate issue that water and wastewater  should address, is the greenhouse gas emission  
  • 21:55 from the wastewater treatment,  especially the methane,  
  • 22:02 which is the highest warming potential. 25  times more in comparison to the carbon dioxide.
  • 22:10 [Teresa Vernaglia]: In BRK,  
  • 22:12 we are implementing high efficiency wastewater  planting. We are using a state-of-the-art  
  • 22:19 technology from Holland, that's Nereda, that  reduce the methane emission of around 90%.  
  • 22:29 We already have installed three of these plants  in our operations, and other eight we will stand  
  • 22:37 up to 2026. And we are also committed  to reduce GHG emission from sludge.
  • 22:46 [Teresa Vernaglia]: This sludge disposed in land fills  
  • 22:52 has a high emission of methane. And in BRK, we  are implementing two projects to drive the sludge,  
  • 23:02 opening opportunities to reintroduce it for  the steel mill and fertilizer industries.  
  • 23:10 And to conclude, our love  for these projects together,  
  • 23:16 have a GHG mitigation potential of around  2.3 million tons of CO2 in our operations,  
  • 23:26 which represents 10% reduction until 2025, 3%  until 2030. And we are targeting setting BRK  
  • 23:40 as a carbon-neutral company up to 2040.  So we have a lot of things going on here.
  • 23:47 [Elleanor Robins]: Wow, you certainly do. Thank you, Teresa. Really  
  • 23:51 interesting, and how inspiring and ambitious your  plans are. And clearly, you're already doing a  
  • 23:58 lot to realize those. Really interesting. Thank  you. You also clearly have an incredible reach in  
  • 24:05 Brazil, as you've outlined. Could you talk to us  a little bit about the impact of your operations?
  • 24:12 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Ah, yes, Elleanor. Water  
  • 24:15 and wastewater sector, it's fantastic. We have  huge purpose and impact in the life of people.  
  • 24:24 And the sanitation projects are directly  connected to the reduction of waterborne disease.  
  • 24:34 One of our concessions, Uruguaiana,  that is a city with 130,000 inhabitants  
  • 24:42 in the South Region of Brazil, in  the State of Rio Grande do Sul.
  • 24:45 [Teresa Vernaglia]: It's a good example of that. We have invested  
  • 24:50 around $76 million between 2011 and 2020  in Uruguaiana, reaching universalization  
  • 25:02 of the access to wastewater and water. And  at the same period, we reduced the accurate  
  • 25:12 diarrhea incident in children from zero to five  years, from 3,000 in 2011, to 100 cases in 2018.
  • 25:26 [Teresa Vernaglia]: In other concessions, in Palmas,  
  • 25:29 in another concession in Palmas, Palmas is a city  in the State of Tocantins in the North Region of  
  • 25:36 Brazil, with more than 300,000 inhabitants. And  the investments carried out there by BRK between  
  • 25:47 2000 and 2017, have led a 54% reduction of  acute diarrhea cases after universalization.
  • 26:00 [Teresa Vernaglia]: So these two cases,  
  • 26:02 this case of Uruguaiana and Palmas, reaffirm,  confirm that all the studies have shown that each  
  • 26:12 dollar invested in sanitation saves  other $4 in the public health system.  
  • 26:20 And the income generation, Elleanor, is also a  positive externality of investment in sanitation.  
  • 26:28 One case that represents this reality is  our newest concession in Alagoas State.
  • 26:35 [Teresa Vernaglia]: That's in the Northeast of Brazil, with  
  • 26:40 amazing beaches, where we are serving 1.5 million  inhabitants. We had started our operation last  
  • 26:50 September 2020. It's a concession of 35 years.  And in one year, we have generated 2,000 jobs.  
  • 27:03 Furthermore, our social programs are oriented  to promote the income and jobs generation,  
  • 27:12 and also focusing on diversity and inclusion.
  • 27:15 [Teresa Vernaglia]: We have developed a program called [Portugese].  
  • 27:22 It's a program where we train socially  vulnerable womens to become plumbers.  
  • 27:30 We have launched the first group in Recife,  in the Northeast of Brazil, last year,  
  • 27:37 with Venezuelan refugees, and a second group  now in Maceió, our newest concession, including  
  • 27:47 in addition to the Venezuela refugees,  indigenous people from that regions.
  • 27:52 [Teresa Vernaglia]: And now our plan is to scale up this project  
  • 27:57 to our operation across Brazil. And the beauty  of this project is that we have already hired  
  • 28:06 more than 40% of these womens to work in our  operations. And those that we didn't hire,  
  • 28:15 these womens can work in their communities,  undertaking and generate income locally.
  • 28:22 [Teresa Vernaglia]: And also, in a part partnership with a US NGO,  
  • 28:28 Water.org, we are offering micro credits for  almost 4,000 families, of low income families, to  
  • 28:39 connect their homes in the sewage system, building  toilets and water tanks. It's really a pleasure  
  • 28:49 to be part of this transformation in these sites  where we are investing. It's really a pleasure.
  • 28:59 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 29:00 Thank you, Teresa. Yeah. Transformational is  certainly the word that was coming to my mind  
  • 29:05 as you were speaking, as well as really so  impactful. Thank you. Thank you so much for  
  • 29:10 laying that out for us, and illustrating  the important work that BRK is doing.
  • 29:16 [Elleanor Robins]: So I'm going to move to a separate topic around  
  • 29:21 policies and enabling environment. I understand  that there's been a recent law in Brazil that  
  • 29:28 has the opportunity to give a more prominent role  to the private sector in the water and sanitation  
  • 29:33 sector. Could you talk to us a little bit about  that, and any impact it's having on your business?
  • 29:39 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Yes. In the last June 2020, Elleanor, after four  
  • 29:48 years of discussions, a new regulatory framework  was approved by the Brazilian Congress. And with  
  • 29:56 this approval, investments in the order of $130  billion will be made necessary and possible,  
  • 30:08 up to 2033, till Brazil reach universalization of  water and wastewater. Just to give you an idea,  
  • 30:20 nowadays, Brazil has 50% of the population,  100 million people without access to sewage.
  • 30:29 [Teresa Vernaglia]: And we're still struggling,  
  • 30:32 having 35 million people without access  to portable water, in an economy that's  
  • 30:40 among with the 10 largest in the world.  That's the relevance of this new regulation.  
  • 30:47 And this volume of investments, this $130  billion to reach universalization by 2033,  
  • 30:55 represents around $10 billion per year. And  since this new law was approved in June 2020,  
  • 31:06 $10 billion has already been committed by the  private sector. And BRK is part of that amount.
  • 31:17 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you. Thank you for that,  
  • 31:18 Teresa. And such an important illustration,  the role you're playing in terms of the  
  • 31:23 solutions that the private sector  can bring to this really complex,  
  • 31:27 but so impactful sector. Thank you.  Thank you for outlining that for us.
  • 31:33 [Elleanor Robins]: Perhaps, to close our discussion today,  
  • 31:37 I'd like to hear if you have a particular call for  action, and especially from public policy makers,  
  • 31:44 in terms of what more can be done regarding water  and sanitation. And in particular at this time,  
  • 31:49 as the sector is seeking to address  the challenge of climate change.
  • 31:52 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Elleanor, it's possible,  
  • 31:56 as I mentioned in the cases of Uruguaiana  and Palmas. In a period of five to 10 years,  
  • 32:03 to completely transform the health situation of  a city, by bringing sanitation, exactly how it  
  • 32:11 happened in Uruguaiana, where we have reduced  the cases of active diarrhea from 3,000 to 100  
  • 32:19 in seven years. And in addition, in addition,  experimenting the growth of basic education index.
  • 32:27 [Teresa Vernaglia]: So this city has a combination of a virtuous  
  • 32:32 effect, of a positive effect. At the same time we  reduced the cases of a diarrhea from 3,000 to 100,  
  • 32:40 the city also performed an improvement in the  basic education index that measured the quality  
  • 32:48 of education. Therefore, a country such as Brazil,  where the state is still do not have investment  
  • 33:02 capacity to perform $10 billion of investment  per year, in the next 10 years to reach  
  • 33:11 universalization, the private sector is  our partner to overcome this challenge.
  • 33:20 [Teresa Vernaglia]: The private sector  
  • 33:22 with expertise in operation, and the long term if  you like, BRK, has the capability and can change  
  • 33:33 the reality of health, education, and economy, as  we are observing in our concession, and especially  
  • 33:43 our newest concession in Alagoas where  we are already generating more than 2,000  
  • 33:49 jobs. So my final message here is, it was a huge  
  • 33:57 achievement from the Brazilian government  in approval of the new regulatory framework.
  • 34:01 [Teresa Vernaglia]: From now, on it's important to keep moving  
  • 34:06 and bringing more options, new projects that  enabling the private sector to invest and really  
  • 34:15 overcome the reality. I think that investing in  infrastructure, and specifically in water and  
  • 34:21 wastewater, is an amazing political and social  agenda for our Congress and for our country.
  • 34:30 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you, Teresa. I have no  
  • 34:32 doubt that our audience watching around the world,  whether in different capacities as policy makers  
  • 34:38 and investors, will take great inspiration  from what you've said, and hopefully come  
  • 34:42 away with some ideas of where and how things can  really work. So thank you so much for providing  
  • 34:49 us with the details of your business and  your operations. Really appreciate it.
  • 34:56 [Teresa Vernaglia]: Elleanor, thank you  
  • 34:58 very much for the opportunity to share a little  bit about our expertise and the opportunities,  
  • 35:05 and the beauty of investing in  sanitation. So, thank you very much.
  • 35:09 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 35:10 Now, to round off our conversation today, we're  going to talk about a citywide perspective on  
  • 35:14 climate. And for this, I'm absolutely  delighted to be joined by Is'haaq Akoon,  
  • 35:19 Senior Manager for Climate Change in  the City of Ekurhuleni in South Africa.
  • 35:22 [Elleanor Robins]: He's going to help us understand  
  • 35:24 how cities must focus on long term planning and  also interconnectness between different sectors,  
  • 35:29 to create a comprehensive climate plan. Welcome,  Is'haaq. Thank you so much for joining us today.  
  • 35:35 Please, could you tell us a little  bit about your city, Ekurhuleni, and  
  • 35:39 its long term objectives  related to climate change?
  • 35:41 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The city of Ekurhuleni is the  
  • 35:43 fourth largest municipality in South Africa,  with nine towns, 20 customer care centers,  
  • 35:48 a population of about 3.8 million people, which  is spread across a total land area of 1,975  
  • 35:54 square kilometers, thus accounting for 28% of  the provincial population. Commonly referred  
  • 36:00 to as the manufacturing hub of Gauteng, which  services the City of Joburg and City of Tshwane.
  • 36:05 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The long term  
  • 36:06 strategic priority of the city is to become a  delivering, capable, sustainable city by 2055.  
  • 36:12 And much of this is underpinned by  focusing on sustainable urban integration  
  • 36:16 and environmental wellbeing. The city is committed  to addressing global climate change by both  
  • 36:21 reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and adapting  to the impacts of local climate variability.
  • 36:26 [Is'haaq Akoon]: These commitments were  
  • 36:28 formalized through various international  platforms, including the Global Covenant  
  • 36:32 of Mayors, the Global Alliance for City Climate  Leadership, and our membership to see C40 networks  
  • 36:37 for climate action within cities. The city  has committed to building a more secure,  
  • 36:43 sustainable, and resilient future for Ekurhuleni,  and has set targets to achieve this by 2030.
  • 36:48 [Is'haaq Akoon]: As part of the Ekurhuleni Plus Challenge,  
  • 36:51 by 2030, these targets include clean energy,  25% clean energy mix, a mix between renewables  
  • 36:58 and energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions  reduction by 20% within the city of Ekurhuleni.  
  • 37:06 Improvement in local food production and  harnessing the agricultural potential of the  
  • 37:10 region, at least by 20% food consumed  within the region is grown locally.
  • 37:16 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Natural resource management, reverse the trend of  
  • 37:18 natural resource loss, by increasing fresh water  security, watersheds and wetlands protection,  
  • 37:24 community based wetlands management, invasive  species control, and natural species restoration,  
  • 37:29 a 50% reduction of waste within the city. And  that's specifically diversion from landfalls,  
  • 37:36 including recycling and bioconversion.
  • 37:39 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Smart sustainable communities,  
  • 37:41 by improving the livability and  resilience within the built environment,  
  • 37:44 through adequate planning and  well-designed infrastructure.  
  • 37:48 And then green workforce and an environmentally  educated community. I think these are the  
  • 37:54 specific targets that we've set for the  city, and we are really looking forward  
  • 37:58 to carrying out these targets, and ensuring  that we achieve net-zero by 2050. Thank you.
  • 38:05 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you, Is'haaq. Really,  
  • 38:06 really comprehensive overview of all the  different sectors that you're looking at. And  
  • 38:12 I know that your city partnered  with IFC for the use of Apex.
  • 38:16 [Elleanor Robins]: And Apex is a data-driven  
  • 38:18 cloud-based platform that IFC has the  developed, and it helps cities identify  
  • 38:22 potential climate smart projects and  develop a climate smart action plan.  
  • 38:26 Could you perhaps tell the audience  today how Ekurhuleni used this tool?
  • 38:31 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Great. Yeah. I think a fantastic opportunity  
  • 38:35 for us was given to us in 2020, when we began the  collaboration with IFC to develop a Green Climate  
  • 38:42 Action Plan for the city. The Green Cities Action  Plans seek to support the city of Ekurhuleni's  
  • 38:48 achievement in mitigation targets, and using  sound data from Apex. The Green City Action  
  • 38:54 Plan provided a roadmap that could aid the city to  become a resilient and carbon-neutral city region.
  • 39:01 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The Green City Action Plan  
  • 39:04 prioritizes and quantifies the impacts  of 20 selected solutions or measures,  
  • 39:08 refers to as measured, sorry, focusing on four  key sectors, energy, water, waste, and transport.  
  • 39:15 Implementing these priority measures is expected  to support a 23.7% greenhouse gas reduction.  
  • 39:21 That's around 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide  in the greenhouse gas emissions, by 2030.
  • 39:27 [Is'haaq Akoon]: We had already worked closely  
  • 39:29 with stakeholders internally and within the city  to develop a future vision for our city, as part  
  • 39:34 of our change strategy, including developing  specific response plans for various municipal  
  • 39:40 departments that sought to reduce carbon  emissions and adapt to climate change.  
  • 39:44 This was done in around 2017 and 2018.  However, implementation was stagnant.
  • 39:50 [Is'haaq Akoon]: And due to COVID-19, a lot of the  
  • 39:53 budgetary requirements that we had envisioned  would come into effect, did not happen.  
  • 40:00 So using the IFC's Apex tool, we helped quantify  and reprioritize our vision, both in terms of  
  • 40:06 the environmental impact and costs, and to explore  policies and investments that drive and accelerate  
  • 40:12 implementation. Given that we had lost  already a two-year or three-year time period.
  • 40:16 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Apex also provided insights on possible payback  
  • 40:20 periods of our investments, in particular where  actions supported greater resource efficiencies,  
  • 40:25 and therefore cost savings. I'm confident to  say that now, we have a better understanding  
  • 40:30 of what immediate actions can be taken to reach  our sustainability goals, and a financing model  
  • 40:36 that could help us get there. Thanks very much.
  • 40:38 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 40:40 Thank you. Thanks, Is'haaq, for walking us through  that. And perhaps you could give us a sense of how  
  • 40:47 now, the of Ekurhuleni intends to use the  specific outputs that Apex has provided.
  • 40:53 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Yeah. I think it's no  
  • 40:56 coincidence that the finalization of our Green  Cities Action Plan comes at the same time as we  
  • 41:01 usher in a new elected local government. We have  just gone to the polls on the 1st of November,  
  • 41:08 and the newly elected political officials offer  their administrator or as their administration,  
  • 41:14 the opportunity to lobby support, realign  service delivery, prioritizing resources,  
  • 41:19 and further ensure that we advance our  communities to bold climate action.
  • 41:23 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Through Apex, our greenhouse gas  
  • 41:26 calculations for each of the sectors were made.  It also provided the scenario for what happens if  
  • 41:31 no change is made. So business as usual, versus  an improved case, giving the city confidence in  
  • 41:37 our targets and the measures that would take us  to a more resilient and climate proof future.  
  • 41:42 Much of the climate change commitments that we  would require of a newly elected city government,  
  • 41:47 would be positively informed by the Green  City's Climate Action plan, underpinned by Apex.
  • 41:52 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The Green Cities Action  
  • 41:54 Plan details the various measures for the city,  including city level policies, investments, and  
  • 42:00 planning strategies that can help the city meet  these climate change mitigation and sustainability  
  • 42:05 targets, as I've alluded to earlier. As such,  it has provided an implementation roadmap  
  • 42:10 while detailing areas where public and private  climate related investments could be leveraged,  
  • 42:15 which can be influenced by city level policies  and plans that we have control over as the city.
  • 42:20 [Is'haaq Akoon]: In implementing the Green Cities  
  • 42:22 Action Plan, the city will integrate measures  and targets into the city's development planning  
  • 42:27 process and budgeting processes, to support  detailed planning and ultimately implementation.  
  • 42:32 In addition, the city will look at mobilizing and  working with key partners and other stakeholders,  
  • 42:38 both in the public and private sector,  to ensure that we get this work underway,  
  • 42:43 such as through urban planning,  where we've got incentives  
  • 42:46 to catalyze action, where project paused  for private sector to make investment.
  • 42:50 [Is'haaq Akoon]: In addition to this year,  
  • 42:52 we've got independent power producers that are  coming online within the city of Ekurhuleni that  
  • 42:56 will advance our renewable energy mix within the  city, and our reliance on coal-generated power.  
  • 43:03 Further, to this year, we  are looking at remodeling our  
  • 43:07 waste generation and waste land filling,  and moving from what we call traditional  
  • 43:12 waste methods to an alternative waste treatment  system, which would probably be underpinned by  
  • 43:17 newer technologies in incineration and assist with  managing the waste of the city. Thanks, Elleanor.
  • 43:25 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you. Thank you, Is'haaq.  
  • 43:29 It's really striking how this is touching on  so many different sub sectors within the city,  
  • 43:34 and how climate action does span  across many different areas.
  • 43:38 [Elleanor Robins]: And I'm wondering if  
  • 43:39 you can tell us a little bit more about  that interconnectedness and how you went  
  • 43:44 about making sure that internally, within the  city, the various departments were involved in  
  • 43:50 making this happen, and also externally,  how you worked with other stakeholders.
  • 43:54 [Is'haaq Akoon]: 
  • 43:55 Great. Yeah. I think it's always difficult  with climate change, trying to get everybody  
  • 44:01 around the table that speaks the same language  and understands the terminology the same way.  
  • 44:06 I think for the development of the  GCAP, or the Green Climate Action Plan,  
  • 44:10 the city made use of nominated sector  representatives to work with the IFC team  
  • 44:14 to ensure outcomes of the process reflected the  city context and aligned with the city policies.
  • 44:18 [Is'haaq Akoon]: So we essentially  
  • 44:20 went out to the different head of departments  and got them to nominate specific individuals,  
  • 44:25 both with the technical background, as well as the  management experience to ensure that we have the  
  • 44:30 related measures within the GCAP that would speak  to the priorities of that department. We also had  
  • 44:37 built something within the city just prior to  launching the GCAP, called the Resilience Forum,  
  • 44:44 as that was the best coordinating  body for the municipality.
  • 44:47 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Many of the representatives  
  • 44:49 that formed part of the Project Steering  Committee for the GCAP, were represented in this  
  • 44:55 Resilience Forum. The GCAP then used this  body to share the outcomes from the Apex,  
  • 45:00 and get input on the processes from the different  city officials and the different line functions.  
  • 45:05 The final document was prioritized  with the ... Sorry. The final document,  
  • 45:09 with the prioritized actions, were shared in this  platform with all members for review and comment.
  • 45:14 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The final action plan has  
  • 45:15 been reviewed internally and externally as well,  to ensure alignment with all relevant national  
  • 45:21 and international best practices. We even had  the opportunity to bounce it off our academia  
  • 45:26 colleagues within the province, as well as  our provincial and national departments.  
  • 45:31 And then also the private sector  within our business forums.
  • 45:34 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The Green Cities  
  • 45:36 Action Plan is one of the pieces of the city's  comprehensive approach to addressing climate  
  • 45:39 change and promoting sustainable development.  Separate work is in progress that will elaborate  
  • 45:44 on the city's climate risks and resilience  and adaptation actions, as well as extend  
  • 45:50 the strategy into the future within an eye  on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • 45:55 [Is'haaq Akoon]: The city is a member of C40,  
  • 45:57 which is a cohort of cities all working towards  reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, through  
  • 46:02 implementation of various climate action plans.  Through the involvement with C40, the city hopes  
  • 46:07 that the funding opportunities will be unlocked  to help further finance the implementation of  
  • 46:12 the identified measures through partnering with  other private and public sector partners. Thanks.
  • 46:18 [Elleanor Robins]: 
  • 46:20 Thank you. Thanks, Is'haaq. Very, very  interesting. And I'm sure also, having you  
  • 46:26 in your role as Senior Manager for Climate Change,  being able to bring all of these parties together,  
  • 46:32 has been really, really critical.  So thank you very much for that.
  • 46:35 [Elleanor Robins]: Perhaps to end here our conversation,  
  • 46:40 an important question would be, what call to  climate action would you extend to your peers  
  • 46:45 in city administrations around the world?
  • 46:47 [Is'haaq Akoon]: 
  • 46:51 Thanks, Elleanor. Sorry. Yeah. I  think the importance of working  
  • 46:56 with all aligned departments within  the city, I think that's fundamental.  
  • 47:00 I think there's opportunities with having good,  sound data, as was provided by the Apex tool to  
  • 47:06 promote your cause, to instill confidence  within the system, to ensure that the city  
  • 47:13 works towards a better understanding  of common issues and common problems.
  • 47:18 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Further to that there,  
  • 47:20 I think it's important that the Ekurhulenis among  the cities around the world that's undertaking  
  • 47:26 efforts to incorporate evidence-based  assessments into their climate change planning,  
  • 47:31 and I think that's what Apex has offered us,  
  • 47:33 an opportunity to baseline a lot of the data and  then further develop on that there going forward.
  • 47:38 [Is'haaq Akoon]: Ensuring that we are reporting into different  
  • 47:41 platforms, the CDP platform for one, well  quantified measures and actions that will then  
  • 47:48 enhance our city, build resilience, and ensure  that we achieve the relevant targets set out.
  • 47:53 [Elleanor Robins]: Thank you so much, Is'haaq. It's been a really  
  • 47:57 insightful conversation. And really bringing  this citywide perspective has really helped us  
  • 48:03 round off this event today. Thank you.  Thank you very much for joining us.
  • 48:07 [Is'haaq Akoon]:  Fantastic. Thanks Elleanor, for your  time. Appreciate the opportunity.
  • 48:10 [Elleanor Robins]: Now, we could be talking about this  
  • 48:12 topic for a lot longer, but unfortunately,  we're coming to the end of our time.  
  • 48:17 Whether you are coming from the private  sector or the public sector, whether  
  • 48:21 you've been watching this as an investor,  a policy maker, a developer, or simply and  
  • 48:25 perhaps most importantly, as a citizen, we  do hope you enjoyed the conversation today.
  • 48:29 [Elleanor Robins]: And we hope that it gave the  
  • 48:31 inspiration to know that incorporating mitigation  and adaptation to climate change in cities  
  • 48:36 is possible and profitable. By  prioritizing sustainability,  
  • 48:40 cities around the world can ensure  that both environmental and economic  
  • 48:44 benefits are enjoyed by residents of  today, and also residents of tomorrow.
  • 48:47 [Elleanor Robins]: IFC is here to partner with you,  
  • 48:49 with our tools, advice, and finance, and hope to  continue to work to advance this important agenda.  
  • 48:57 Thank you deeply, to all of our speakers,  and thank you to all for joining us.

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