Black-empowered resources group Exxaro climbed to the top of the JSE Top 100 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) in 2012, closely followed by fellow miners Gold Fields and Harmony – in 2011, Gold Fields topped the CDLI.
A total of 78 leading public companies (measured by market capitalisation as at November 30, 2011) offered responses to South Africa’s sixth Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaire.
The response rate positions South Africa second internationally after the ‘Europe 300’, which posted a response rate of 92%. The CDP 2012 report notes that disclosure by South African companies also compares favourably with the disclosure rates of the Global 500 on most parameters. But it says there is “room for further improvement”.
South African corporates also performed favourably when compared with companies in other Brics countries, with the ‘Brazil 80’ recording a response rate of 65% and the ‘China 100’, 23%, while the ‘India 200’ and the ‘Russia 50’ logged response rates of 26% and 8% respectively.
However, at 78%, the response rate represented a decline on the 83% rate recorded in 2012, which the authors attributed to the fact that most of the new entrants to the JSE Top 100 chose not to participate. “This suggests that there may be low levels of climate change reporting outside of the JSE Top 100,” the reports states.
However, 13 companies outside of the JSE Top 100 sample voluntarily submitted their own CDP responses, up from two in 2012.
Among those offering voluntary responses was State-owned power utility Eskom, which remains South Africa’s largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter. In the year to March 31, 2012, Eskom produced 231.9-million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) of South Africa’s total estimated emissions of 510-million tCO2e.
The CDP 2012 report, written by Incite Sustainability in partnership with the National Business Initiative (NBI), estimates that, taken together with Eskom, the responding JSE companies account for 64% of the country’s total estimate emissions.
It also states that there has been a material reduction in the reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from South Africa’s top companies. Total reported direct emissions for 2012 decreased from 137-million tCO2e in 2011 to 132-million tCO2e in 2012, while indirect emissions reduced from 98.4-million tCO2e last year to 86.6-million tCO2e in 2012.
“In a context where investor confidence in South Africa is under pressure, South African transparency and performance in what is an investor-led initiative is a shining light,” NBI CEO Joanne Yawitch says, adding that South African companies are also shifting focus from disclosure to performance.
This shift is underlined by the rise in the number of companies (from 40 in 2011 to 43 this year) with GHG emissions reduction targets, as well as the fact that 73 companies report having a board committee, or executive body, with responsibility for climate change. In addition, 57 companies reported that they are implementing energy-efficiency initiatives.
Besides the three top-ranked mining companies, other JSE-listed companies included in the 2012 CDLI are First Rand, Mediclinic, Remgro, Sanlam, Anglo American Platinum, Pick ‘n Pay Holdings, Growthpoint Properties, Nampak and Oceana.