Economic and socio-economic impact assessment
Understanding the economic and socio-economic impacts of projects, programmes or sectors is often a critical part of decision-making processes. We have extensive experience in this field and have conducted over 60 such assessments across a number of sectors. Often these assessments have formed part of public sector statutory processes such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or feasibility studies. Private sector clients also commission impact assessments to better understand their own impacts and be in a position to convey these to other stakeholders.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Cost-benefit analysis and economic modelling
Cost-benefit analysis is used to quantify and compare financial and/or economic positives and negatives. It remains an essential part of the economic analysis toolkit particularly where alternative projects or courses of action are being compared. Often we use economic modelling as an input to cost-benefit analysis or economic impact assessment.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Valuation of ecosystem services
Ecosystem services can be defined as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. They include provisioning services such as harvesting and grazing, supporting and regulating services such as water regulation, erosion prevention and carbon sequestration and cultural and amenity services such as tourism and recreation. The economic value or benefits associated with these services can be estimated using economic valuation techniques. These values can then be used to highlight the importance of ecosystems in supporting socio-economic development goals or as part of assessments of interventions.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Incentives for conservation and the environment
Often change is difficult to achieve by simply estimating and conveying the economic value associated with ecosystems. One needs to also explore ways of ‘capturing’ or ‘monetising’ values in order to create appropriate incentive structures to achieve. For example, biodiversity offsets can be used to counter-act decreased benefits, payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes can create incentives for conservation or measures can be designed to support the polluter pays principle.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Protected area sustainable financing and business planning
Protected areas are commonly under substantial pressure to grow their incomes whilst providing benefits for local communities. Sustainable financing strategies and business plans can assist in the process of enhancing existing income streams and developing new ones. In this way they can complement general management plans and assist in protected areas strengthening.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Policy, strategy and guidelines
Economic concepts and tools offer a rigorous way of analysing trade-offs, incentives structures, unintended consequences, etc. The careful consideration of these issues are often key to effective policy, strategy and associated guideline development. We focus on the application of economic analysis to the interface between development and the environment where challenges are particularly significant. Our experience includes making inputs to biodiversity conservation, land use planning, water resource planning, climate change, air pollution, mining rehabilitation funding and bio-fuels policy.Click here for a list of our projects in this service area
Hugo Van Zyl is the director and lead consultant at Independent Economic Researchers. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Cape Town and has 17 years of consulting experience. Hugo has used cost-benefit analysis and other tools in numerous economic and socio-economic assessment across a variety of sectors. He has led numerous projects in applied environmental resource economics focused on ecosystem services assessment and valuation, sustainable financing for protected areas, economic incentives for conservation and strategic environmental assessment. From a policy perspective, he has provided economic inputs and guidance to national water tariff, air pollution, biodiversity conservation, biofuels, mine closure financing and climate change policy.
James Kinghorn is a researcher at Independent Economic Researchers. He holds a MEcon in natural resource economics from Rhodes University. James’ primary interests lie in the fields of environmental and development economics. He has conducted economic impact assessments, various market-based and contingent valuation studies, and also has experience with qualitative approaches such as the sustainable livelihoods framework. Previous projects include outlining strategies to quantify and capture the value of estuarine ecosystems, as well as contributions to multi-disciplinary research aimed at informing inland fisheries management policy. James recently spent two years managing humanitarian programmes in South Sudan, which entailed extensive engagement with communities and other stakeholders.
Where we do not have in-house expertise, we are able to draw on an excellent network of associates as required.
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Independent Economic Researchers has undertaken projects throughout South Africa as well as work in Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria and the Seychelles. We have also made contributions to international processes such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and ValuES. Our clients include the following organisations in the public sector, private sector, donor community and in civil society:
Donors and Civil Society Organisations
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304 Commerce House
55 Shortmarket Street
Cape Town, 8001