CDP 2014: JSE 100 still not achieving significant emission reductions despite improvement in disclosure and performance

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Wednesday, October 22, 2014

<p>South Africa’s JSE 100 are not achieving significant carbon reductions. (Copyright: <a href="">kodda / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)</p>

South Africa’s JSE 100 are not achieving significant carbon reductions. (Copyright: kodda / 123RF Stock Photo)

Despite an improvement in disclosure and performance South Africa’s JSE 100 companies are still not achieving significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. This is according to the results of the latest CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) South Africa Climate Change Report 2014.

Whilst the number of companies achieving net emission reductions has increased from 41% in 2013 to 51% in 2014, and there has been a small reduction in total reported emissions (4%), only 27 of the 100 reporting companies have achieved emissions reductions of more than 3% in the last year from emission reduction activities. According to the report these reductions are too low to make a significant impact on South Africa’s GHG emissions.  Furthermore although 76% of the companies have set emissions reductions targets, if these targets were to be achieved they would result in a mere 0.7% reduction in emissions for the 2014 period.  The report states that these targets that have been set are therefore not ambitious enough to align with the reduction targets set by national government.

The National Business Initiative’s (NBI) CEO, Joanne Yawitch comments, “We acknowledge the challenges of growing our businesses to have a positive impact on inequality, poverty and job creation, while simultaneously reducing our emissions, however we need to accelerate our business efforts, set more ambitious targets, work with government to ensure an appropriate enabling environment to drive innovation and reduce our emissions.”

Improvements in disclosure and performance

Even though the JSE 100 have not made significant reductions in their emissions, it is worth noting that disclosure and performance have both improved in the last year. South Africa is one of the top two responding samples in the world and the average disclosure score for 2014 is 87/100, an increase from 83/100 in 2013.  The report states that disclosure is the first step in driving performance and that standards are now extremely high. On the performance side, nine of the JSE 100 companies have made it on to the Climate Performance Leadership Index (CDLI), a global list of companies that have demonstrated a superior approach to reducing their GHG emissions. The nine companies include: Anglo American Platinum, FirstRand Ltd, Harmony Gold Mining Co Ltd, Mediclinic International, Pick n Pay Stores Ltd, Redefine Properties Ltd, SABMiller, Sanlam and Standard Bank Group.

Yawitch commented on the achievements of the JSE 100 and is optimistic about the future, “The change we need is possible and the journey South African companies are taking towards that change is demonstrated in this and the previous seven CDP Climate Change reports. The fact that the average disclosure score is now 87 out of 100, higher than the score needed to get into the CDLI when we started in 2007, is simply remarkable.”

South Africa’s Top Direct Emitters

The CDP South Africa Climate Change Report for 2014 provides the most up to date statistics on carbon emissions for South Africa companies. Based on this report the companies that emit the highest direct emissions (Scope 1) can be identified. The highest direct emitter by far is Eskom, who reported voluntarily to the CDP this year, with a Scope 1 Global figure of 233,343,992 tCO2e. SASOL was the second highest direct emitter with a Scope 1 Global figure of 61,292,000 tCO2e. The third highest direct emitter for 2014 was BHP Billiton with a Scope 1 Global figure of 22,000,000 tCO2e. 

Amanda Botes