SA firms top list for disclosing emissions

Sue Blaine | 29 April 2013 | BDLive

SOUTH Africa has the highest percentage of top companies that disclose their greenhouse gas emissions out of all Brics members, according to an index of 300 large companies expected to be released on Monday.

Telecommunications company Vodacom came second overall, beaten only by Brazilian renewable energy company Cemig. The top 10 comprises three each from Brazil, India and China, and Vodacom.

More than 50% of the 45 South African companies listed in the index were reporting complete data — direct emissions plus emissions from the buying of electricity and from investments and the transport of goods, along with waste and employees. This is according to the index by London-based research body Environmental Investment Organisation.

Of 117 Chinese companies listed, only nine — all Hong Kong-based — reported complete data. Only 21% of Brazilian companies did the same.

Companies that were aware of their emissions throughout their supply chain were better placed to plan for regulation such as the carbon taxation which is on the cards for SA and to withstand investor scrutiny, said Environmental Investment Organisation CEO Sam Gill.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in his budget speech in February carbon taxation would be implemented from January 1 2015. The Treasury is to release a second discussion document on the form of the carbon tax next month.

The key finding from the benchmarking exercise was that none of the 300 companies fully reported all their emissions. South African law requires pension funds and other large asset managers to account for the environmental, social and governance effects of their investments. Reporting on these is also a King 3 requirement, mandatory for JSE-listed firms.

Standard Bank project finance director Greg Babaya said indices such as Environmental Investment Organisation’s would become “ever more” important, but not all investors required this information yet.