Knowledge Pele partners with Coldplay, Costa Rica to promote sustainability

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

South African development company Knowledge Pele is working with Costa Rica and rock band Coldplay to further sustainability.

Knowledge Pele in 2021 became a Coldplay affiliate. The Knowledge Pele affiliation is targeted at solving the dual challenge of food insecurity (a social sustainability challenge) and climate change (an environmental challenge), Knowledge Pele MD Fumani Mthembi tells Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

For its upcoming Music of The Spheres tour, scheduled to take place this month, Coldplay is aiming to ensure the tour is sustainable and as low-carbon as possible.

This entails reducing its consumption, recycling extensively and cutting its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50%; supporting new green technologies and developing new, sustainable, super-low-carbon touring methods; and making the tour as environmentally beneficial as possible by funding a portfolio of nature- and technology-based projects and by drawing down significantly more CO2 than the tour produces.

A first step in achieving this will be the band’s first concert, which takes place in Costa Rica, a renewable energy powered country.

However, the band’s sustainability drive is not limited to the tour. It is also working with organisations that are advancing the sustainability agenda across the world, of which Knowledge Pele is one.

Selected on the basis of its work in the green industrialisation of underprivileged communities, Knowledge Pele has developed a cross-country project that will see its affiliation with Coldplay extend to the government of Costa Rica.

“Once they had elected to start the tour in Costa Rica, the most sustainable country in the world, Knowledge Pele began the process of exploring opportunities to implement a project in that country, to maximise the impact and visibility of our work in the context of the Coldplay affiliation.

“Following engagements with the Costa Rican government, we identified the projects that we could implement, to enable mutual benefit for South Africa and Costa Rica,” Mthembi notes.

She outlines that the company and Coldplay share common interests in terms of sustainability advocacy, with the band aiming to make the tour as low-carbon as possible, as well as added investments it is making through organisations such as Knowledge Pele.

Moreover, Knowledge Pele and Costa Rica also align in terms of sustainability endeavours.

Mthembi points out that Costa Rica is 99% powered through renewable energy and is the only country to successfully reforest through its Ecosystem Payments initiative. In a similar vein, she highlights that Knowledge Pele has a track record of delivering green infrastructure and industries to township, periurban and rural communities.

Appreciating the importance of applied research in driving the sustainability agenda, Knowledge Pele and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy have formally partnered to examine the long-term impacts of controlled environment agriculture. Knowledge Pele and the government of Costa Rica formalised their partnership in February this year.

This partnership, which will see new organoponic and hydroponic farms built in Costa Rica and South Africa, is aimed at creating the knowledge to respond to this global challenge.

Costa Rica, having turned around the effects of deforestation, provides critical knowledge on environmental preservation, while Knowledge Pele brings expertise in commercially scaling hydroponic farms to solve social and economic problems.

Coldplay, meanwhile, will be providing funding for the project.

Mthembi explains that included in the partnership is the University of Sussex, globally ranked as the top school in development studies.

“Together, we are studying the development impacts of controlled environment agriculture. Controlled environment agriculture is a necessary response to the global food crisis as it enables the delivery of food in a manner that is water, soil, and land efficient. We are also powering our farms with solar systems,” Mthembi expands. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online