State Owned Enterprises Commit to Lowering Carbon Emissions

Eight state owned enterprises (SOEs) signed their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) on Thursday, July 5, 2012. The UNGC calls for companies to align their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, environment, labour and more. The SEOs, comprising Denel; Transnet; Eskom; SAA; Broadband Infraco; Safcol and SA Express were present at the launch of the Climate Change Policy Framework, by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba at the same event.

The policy is expected to optimise the impact of SEOs on reducing carbon emissions, and develop the green economy without compromising companies' financial viability. Gigaba said under the framework, each state owned company will develop a detailed strategic plan in relation to climate change and green economy considerations in the way that the company operates.

"We adopted a proactive approach to ensure South Africa is playing a leading role in combating the global challenge associated with climate change. It is no secret that South Africa's industrial economy is energy intensive and coal dependent," said the minister.

South Africa is one of the 30 largest emitters of greenhouse gases globally with the bulk of emissions coming from the energy sector.

Gigaba said over time, it was expected that the framework would be integrated into the standard SOE planning cycle but for now, they should develop a format that is optimal for their individual circumstances.

Water and environmental affairs Minister, Edna Molewa said she was pleased by the proactive step taken by the department of public enterprises.

The policy, said Molewa, would guide the country's approach to climate change impacts and the country's transition to a climate resilient and low carbon, job creating and pro-poor green economy.

Gigaba said it was government's intention through SOE to build "responsible global champions that understand their responsibility towards the sustainability of the world".

Kruger National Park - South African Safari