Problem: The organization combats problems such as the lack of social equity and the destruction of the ecosystem. It also aims to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty. The institute is a center of housing and learning in the area of sustainable development. It was founded in 1999 by Eve Annecke and Mark Swilling in a community known as Lynedock EcoVillage, around the university campus in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Solutions: The aim of the institute is to combine theory and practice, integrating ecology and equity while supporting sustainability. Residential accommodation is provided for writers, artists, volunteers and students who visit in an attempt to develop creative projects to deal with the challenges of sustainable practices. The Sustainability Institute offers post-graduate courses in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and development planning, in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch. There are also courses in areas such as the development of early childhood and the community.
The Lynedock EcoVillage, of which the institute is a part, is a place of learning for ecological practices, such as the use of renewable energy and organic agriculture, with a school and a crèche available for workers in the region. The institute also manages an organic farm, which is used as a teaching space for the sustainable agriculture courses.
Outcomes: The students develop sustainable projects in different areas and follow a career in either the public or private sector, or in non-profit organizations. Examples of the positions obtained by those who graduated from the institute include: senior positions in large companies; consultants for engineering or planning companies; researchers; social and commercial entrepreneurs. The work of the institute led to the creation of a project development area, which has since attracted large international clients such as the United Nations (UM), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the company Ernest & Young.