Commission Work

A leading expert institution in navigating the transition towards social justice and change in complex futures in Africa

As a research and learning institute with a deep understanding of sustainability, we do values-aligned consulting work for clients in various sectors. Our network of alumni researchers and advisory associates stretches across sectors and disciplines to bring a diverse and experienced skillset to each project. We provide research and consulting contract work to development institutions, multinational organisations, government institutions and private companies in various fields.

Finding solutions to complex issues within the sphere of sustainability cannot be done by taking a singular worldview. Faced with the reality that consensus does not always exist amongst experts, the Institute takes a process driven, context-based, multi-disciplinary approach to research and consulting.  We emphasise driving processes that are inclusionary, participatory and ethically bound. By doing this we acknowledge that answers must consider the complexities and interconnected nature of environmental, organisational and social systems – therefore understanding nested dependencies. We also place value on understanding the unintended consequences of approaches, decisions and practices.

 

Our expertise range across the following sustainability-related areas:

  • Sustainable Food Systems (primary)
  • Renewable Energy Transitions (secondary)
  • Corporate Governance and Sustainability (primary)
  • Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation (primary)
  • Cities and Infrastructure (secondary)
  • Alternative Economics (secondary)
  • Sustainable Communities (primary)
  • Transformative Learning (primary)

 

Services available:

The Team

LEAD RESEARCH CONSULTANT

Angela Coetzee

As Lead Research Consultant Angela oversees the research and consulting projects at the Sustainability Institute. Angela also focuses heavily on entrepreneurial education and social innovation for sustainability and leads on the entrepreneurship programmes for the Stellenbosch University Diploma Programme.

Consulting projects in entrepreneurship development include working with the Pan African University for Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES) in Algeria to implement a Master’s Programme that is grounded in entrepreneurial principles thus allowing students to be more entrepreneurial and employable. This multi-stakeholder initiative is a directive of the African Union (AU) and is funded and supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

In addition to Angela’s entrepreneurship curiosity, she has a keen interest in sustainable food systems. As a food systems researcher (and a passionate chef) Angela is particularly interested in the claims made for more sustainable alternatives and in the role that power relations play in the food system. Her PhD will therefore focus on how agency and structure enable or prohibit entrepreneurial activity in the context of land reform.

Prior to the SI, Angela spent a decade in entrepreneurship development at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOF), a philanthropic initiative that invests deeply in entrepreneurship development in Southern Africa. At AGOF her work ranged from programme research and design to programme management and execution. In both her roles at the SI and AGOF Angela has developed a robust understanding of entrepreneurship education and tertiary education institutions, particularly for the South African context.

Angela holds a BA in Value Policy Studies and a MPhil in Sustainable Development from the University of Stellenbosch.

Research Advisory Associate

Candice Kelly

Candice has been working with the Sustainability Institute in various capacities since she completed her MPhil in Sustainable Development in 2008. Currently, most of her time is dedicated to her role as project manager of the Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Southern Africa. This donor-funded project seeks to develop knowledge hubs in four regions across the African continent, that will collect, validate and disseminate knowledge about ecological organic agriculture to farmers. The first phase of the project runs from November 2019 – October 2021, and phase two until October 2023.

Since 2009, Candice has been appointed as an Extraordinary Lecturer at Stellenbosch University, and teaching and supervising students from the Postgraduate Diploma and Masters’ in Sustainable Development (in the School of Public Leadership). She provides academic coordination of the sustainable food systems modules that aim to introduce students to the key issues related to social justice and ecological resilience in the food system.

Sustainability strategy

Corporations, governments and development agencies tend to have a significant impact on society and therefore partnering with them on actual projects provide opportunities to influence sustainable transitions practically and more strategically. Supporting transitions within systems through institution specific research, providing context relevant advice and recommendations, allow for practical influence in strategic areas. This Institute’s strong team and strategic partnerships make it one of the leading influencers in the field.

Research

The SI has access to the latest research and thought leadership on sustainability, a key strength in this rapidly growing field. We undertake robust transdisciplinary and applied research that addresses the specific challenges faced by institutions in business, government and civil society. The core group of researchers are top-level graduates from the Masters’ and PhD programmes, with some also having extensive industry experience. Where the SI lacks specialised capacity and/or experience, strategic partnerships and research associates are brought in to execute work and develop leading research outputs.

Capacity building

Sustainability can be daunting if it is not explained in a clear and approachable manner that engages the target audience. Many of those best positioned to make the changes necessary to incorporate sustainability into business, government and civil society decision making, don’t have time to complete the academic programmes offered by the Institute. The Institute, therefore, provides short training courses and in-house programmes tailored to the needs and expertise of the audience. The Institute also prefers to build in-house capacity instead of getting stuck in endless consulting contracts.

Authorship

The compilation of sustainability literature requires a thorough understanding of the field and a network of reputable contacts. Guided by leading academics at the Institute, the research team has developed expertise in the management of large writing projects including international reports and books on sustainability, and is able to draw on experts from around the world to compile documents that are relevant and accessible to a variety of target audiences.