Climate Change is an important issue for South African companies. Not only is South Africa seen as a leading country within international negotiations (and therefore expected to set a strong domestic implementation example) but it is also a country extremely vulnerable to impacts brought about by climate change. South Africa is likely to experience significant increases in temperatures as well as increased variability in rainfall and an increased vulnerability to Extreme Weather Events. These changes will have diverse impacts on business and society – presenting both risk and opportunity. In addition to mitigating their emissions, business must therefore understand the degree to which they will be required to adapt and determine the time available for developing response measures. For many years the South African Government, amongst others, has been arguing in international negotiations that the status of adaptation measures should equal those of mitigation. This is not surprising given that developing countries, in particular those in Africa, will bear the brunt of climate change induced impacts. Impacts will threaten the economic and development options of the poor with worst case scenarios limiting the freedom of the individual (through increased poverty, decreased access to food, decent work and health services) and the consequent stability of nations. Work the NBI is doing in climate change and water disclosure and information from member companies in the insurance sector confirms that some of these impacts are immediate and this is therefore something business needs to address in their current plans and strategies. This will require business to use different design and investment criteria, adapt their business models and design their organisations to be more responsive to variability and change.
The NBI therefore has a package of projects and partnerships that are designed to help our member companies understand the nature of the challenge, build their capacity to respond and ultimately to work collectively with government to develop solutions to climate change and emissions mitigation in South Africa. Our core objectives are to:
- Provide companies with access to strong science in accessible formats to allow them to adequately and reasonably assess the risk of climate change
- Build the capacity of business to adequately manage climate change, supporting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improving the resilience of business, society and the economy
- Improve trust between business and government and investors by providing platforms for transparency and technical assistance to government bodies
- Raise the importance of climate change by establishing the connection between climate change and economic health
- Expand businesses understanding of climate change to include the sustainability of their value chain
- Work with domestic and international stakeholders to understand and mitigate against the barriers to an effective transformation to a green economy, focussed particularly on trade and finance