One of the major challenges that South African businesses are set to face in 2013 is the whole issue of climate change and sustainability – because this year, local organisations will be obliged to respond to these issues.
Much has been spoken and written about the environment, usually on a macro-level involving regions or countries. But, since the South African government has committed the country to a low-carbon economy, local businesses are obliged to add their efforts to ensuring environmental sustainability.
Champions of the Environment Foundation (cEf) in partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development, is to host a conference addressing these challenges.
The event will give South African business a platform to discuss the proposed carbon tax and the economic response to carbon emissions.
Commitment to sustainability is contained in the National Climate Change Response white paper, which outlines plans to respond to climate change on a local and global level, with the following two objectives in mind.
The first is to efficiently manage inevitable climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity.
The second is to make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system within the timeframe that enables economic, social and environmental development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
The conference, scheduled for 26 February 2013, will focus on the following areas:
* Carbon tax, including ISO14064/5;
* Promoting awareness and education around carbon emissions;
* Practical policy solutions;
* Awareness of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) requirements;
* Validation and verification of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission requirements for the business community;
* Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP); and
* Improvements on the social and environmental sustainability performance of private, public and non-governmental organisations.
Stella Helwick, executive director of cEf, explains that IT has a role to play in South Africa’s environmental future.
“All businesses are going to have to start reporting on their carbon status,” she says. “They will need to find ways to measure, monitor and report their emissions – and we will see the development of new technologies especially in the field of telecommunications and communications.”