The United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP25) is taking place in Santiago, Chile, in early December. While it may seem far from Africa, in reality the climate crisis is a global issue, and requires everyone to get involved – including corporate South Africa.
We’re running out of time to reverse significant environmental damage on our planet
Collaboration between the private sector, cities, and national government is crucial to reducing our collective impact and restoring our natural environment for our future generations
Real action comes from those with the power to shift economies, such as businesses and local authorities
Alongside all other sectors of society, businesses must act decisively and urgently to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.
This involves a shift in our energy systems from fossil–based oil, coal, and gas to renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind and waves, plus reduced emissions from all processes across the economy.
Building Climate Resilience
Water shortages, unseasonal rainfall, and changing climatic zones have already impacted on a range of industries, from agriculture to tourism. South African businesses and cities need to take action to build resilience to the coming shocks.
This also makes good business sense. International investors and trading partners are looking for low-carbon opportunities, goods and services.
Our economy risks being stranded in a carbon-intensive backwater if emissions remain high, and we will face serious climate-driven impacts if we don’t do something to address these risks.
Join The Alliance
So, how can businesses adapt to be more sustainable and ecologically responsible, and learn from others doing the same?
One opportunity for corporate South Africa to make a climate commitment is by joining the Alliances for Climate Action (ACA), an initiative facilitated by WWF South Africa, the National Business Initiative (NBi) and C40 Cities.
ACA is a global network aimed at building domestic constituencies for climate action, working hand in hand with national governments to accelerate progress towards the targets set by the Paris Agreement.
The South African chapter of the ACA was announced at a side event of the United Nations’ secretary–general’s Climate Action Summit in September this year when players from across the world gathered in New York to find ways to accelerate climate action.
Other countries to have already launched their own chapters include Japan, Mexico, Argentina and Vietnam, while in the USA, the We Are Still In coalition is also a member.
Among the South African businesses to have signed up at the time of the New York announcement were Vodacom, Virgin Active, Liberty Holdings, the City of Cape Town, and eThekwini Municipality. More are expected to follow.
Head of Changing Business for Good at Virgin Active, Wesley Noble, said of his company’s decision to join the ACA, “We’re running out of time to reverse significant environmental damage on our planet. We’re proud to be working with other stakeholders, and believe collaboration between the private sector, cities, and national government is crucial to reducing our collective impact, and restoring our natural environment for our future generations.”
Alliances for Climate Action
WWF South Africa’s CEO Dr Morné du Plessis commented: “While national government has made climate change commitments, real action comes from those with the power to shift economies, such as businesses and local authorities. Those who have agreed to join Alliances for Climate Action to work towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 lead by their actions and will inspire others to follow.”
By signing up as a member of the ACA in South Africa, companies and cities are committed to at least one, but preferably all, of the actions below:
- To produce plans that show how they each will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, individually and by working with others
- To use their influence to advocate for policy that supports an economy-wide transition to #ZeroCarbon2050. This includes encouraging national government to increase their climate ambition through a strengthened nationally determined contribution (NDC)
- To set a science–based target with the Science Based Targets initiative
- Carbon Disclosure Reporting (CDP), a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions.
For more on the Alliances for Climate Action and how you as a business leader can get involved, visit
You too can give WWF wings
Another great way to support the wonderful work of WWF South Africa is to donate your SAA Voyager miles. Donating your miles is easy: 1. Log in to your Voyager account at www.flysaa.com
- Choose Voyager Shopping, and select Donate Miles
- Under Target Account, select WWF, and make your donation
- You can also do it via the new Voyager app
By donating your miles, you will help WWF South Africa work towards its conservation goals, and free up valuable organisational resources that can be ploughed back directly into environmental work.