SA’s corporates must wake up to social and environmental roles

Compelling article by Tracey Davies of CER on the changing social and environmental landscape in SA.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote in his 2018 letter to CEOs about the increasing expectations across the globe for companies to be more than just creators of financial value: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Much of our corporate sector is not taking these expectations seriously. SA faces catastrophic environmental threats, with devastating social implications: climate change, water scarcity, lethal air pollution and large-scale destruction of our natural heritage.

But when it comes to environmental and social issues, the mining industry is not the only corporate player in SA that is hopelessly behind the times.

Most of our big banks are still considering funding new privately owned coal-fired power plants, such as the proposed Thabametsi and Khanyisa plants in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Two climate change impact assessments for the Thabametsi plant — one commissioned by the developer and one by the Department of Environmental Affairs — found that the climate change effects of the project will be severe.

Thabametsi will be one of the most greenhouse gas emission-intensive plants on Earth, and will deplete water resources in an already water-scarce region for at least 40 years.

Read the full article here