The British High Commissioner to South Africa, Nigel Casey MVO, Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Initiative (NBI), Joanne Yawitch and Charles Perry of the COP26 Climate Champions Team are hosting a discussion for NBI Member Companies, on building climate ambition and private sector leadership in the lead up to COP26.
The year 2021 is a pivotal moment in the race to tackle climate change. Countries only have a limited amount of time in which to act if the world is to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The United Kingdom was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero commitment, followed by the European Union in March 2020. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that China aimed to go carbon neutral by 2060. Since then, Japan and South Korea have joined what the UN estimates is now a total of over 110 countries that have set a net zero target by 2050. Together, these countries represent more than 65% of global emissions and more than 70% of the world economy.
South Africa’s key trade partners are already signing up to deep carbon cuts. To access these new markets and capital, South Africa needs to position itself as a credible market. In order to be credible South Africa needs to demonstrate similar levels of ambition and demonstrate what needs to be done (and what international support is needed), to get there.
Business has a pivotal role to play in transforming economies to to achieve net zero by 2050. The South African business community will need to consolidate efforts across whole sectors and value chains to enable this goal. To enhance business credibility we need to make similarly bold commitments and back them up with clear action.
The NBI, in partnership with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is leading work together with the South African business community to develop an ambitious, fact-based, and unified business view ahead of COP26 on what a ‘Just Transition’ could look like for South Africa. This work will support sectors and companies to develop long-term low-carbon pathways and identify ways to finance and implement them.
The COP26 Summit will bring parties together, including business, to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is a major opportunity to present South Africa’s long term plan and ambition and therefore position South Africa as a major investment destination.