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Emissions and Omissions – Event Summary

Carbon Tax is a reality. As part of the Paris Agreement’s mandate to slow global warming, South Africa is now bound to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and sooner than you think. The revised Carbon Tax Bill is set to be tabled in Parliament by mid-2018. Businesses who want to get ahead of the curve are incorporating carbon emission reporting into their Environmental Sustainability strategies before the legislation hits. The question is, what will the requirements be? And how can you incorporate carbon emission reporting into your overall business strategy?

On 15 May 2018, we hosted our “Emissions and Omissions – Ensuring compliance in the age of the carbon tax” breakfast seminar at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre in Fourways.

Speaking at the seminar were Malcolm Gray, Libryo Co-founder and Jeremy Grist, Director at Herbert & Liebisch Incorporated. They shared their expertise around carbon tax with delegates; how drastically necessary the regulations are, to curb climate change and drive sustainable industry.

The problem with carbon emissions

Malcolm is a passionate sustainability professional with a particular focus on investment, impact, and sustainability. Prior to co-founding Libryo, he spent the past 16 years working for Investec Asset Management in a number of senior roles, most recently as Global Head of ESG and Portfolio Manager of a number of South African and African Funds.

“Our actions have manifestations that will vibrate across generations,” says Malcolm. In his keynote presentation, Malcolm explained to what extent our actions have resulted in an unprecedented excess of carbon in our atmosphere. The data collected from around the world – particularly at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii – over the last 60 years gives us undeniable evidence that we have a carbon emission issue.

“The data is frightening,” emphasizes Malcolm. Something happened in 1950, the human population growth exploded, and we are now in large-scale energy production, the likes of which the planet has never seen before.

Climate change deniers argue that carbon is cyclical. Malcolm argues that yes, the planet ‘breathes’ carbon in and out in a cyclical manner. “But, in the last two generations, we have gone off the reservation,” he says.

Data is now becoming a core issue. Collecting data about carbon intensity is the first step toward regulating it, and meeting the requirements of the United Nations as set out in the Paris Agreement.

Read more: The Paris Agreement is your business.

The UN sets the targets, and individual countries set the legislation. It is up to companies to comply to carbon tax regulations, working together with governments to meet the targets.

The implications of carbon tax reporting

Jeremy Grist presented his keynote address “An Introduction to the Background of Carbon Reporting and the Implications of the Carbon Tax on Business”.

Jeremy joined Herbert & Liebisch in 2017, having previously been a partner at Ernst & Young for 27 years.  His last role at Ernst & Young was to establish and build the Climate Change and Sustainability Practice. His most recent focus area has been advising businesses on the impact of the Paris Agreement and South Africa businesses’ response to this through the introduction of the Carbon Tax.

His presentation focused on what the Paris Agreement would mean for businesses and how companies can get ahead of their reporting requirements around Carbon Tax.

In line with its commitment to the Paris Agreement, South Africa has voluntarily agreed to curb GHG emissions by 34% by 2020, and 42% by 2025. This target is subject to support from developing countries such as climate finance, capacity building, and technology transfers.

The primary piece of legislation that governs carbon emissions and reporting is National Environment Management: Air Quality Act (No. 39 of 2004). The regulations that have been released since the Ratification of the Paris Agreement include:   

  • National Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulations, issued on the 3 April 2017
  • National Pollution Prevention Plans Regulation, issued on the 21 July 2017
  • Declaration of Greenhouse Gases as Priority Air Pollutants, issued on the 21 July 2017.

There are three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sectors that the reporting is focused on:

  • Energy
  • Industrial Process and Product Use
  • Waste
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) is not included.

Jeremy went on to outline the regulatory framework, as well as how businesses are responding to this framework.  He went on to point out that companies are only required to report their South African emissions, all emissions outside of South Africa will be reported in the that country.  The reporting of emissions is limited to the sources of emissions:

  • Where there are multiple sources of emissions in a company, there needs to be consistency in the measurement process
  • The reporting of transport emissions is excluded as this is covered by the accounting for fuel.

Jeremy went into more detail, outlining how Carbon Tax would be calculated and who would have to pay carbon tax, and carbon tax allowances.

The breakfast seminar is part of our annual calendar of thought-leading seminars, where industry experts are invited to share their expertise on a range of pertinent topics relating to HSE and risk management.


If you would like more information on how IsoMetrix can help you with your carbon tax reporting, get in touch with us

If you would like more information on how IsoMetrix can help you with your carbon tax reporting, get in touch with us