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PowerPulse - Climate Change
Sectors 12 September 2022

Standard Bank’s commitment to climate change

South Africa’s Climate Change Bill is a step in the right direction, but Governments cannot tackle the problem of climate change alone, businesses also have an important role to play.

According to a National Business Initiative report titled ‘A Guide to Climate Change for South African CEOs’, local science shows that parts of South Africa are likely to warm at twice the rate of the global average.

The report predicts that western regions of the country will likely become more arid, while eastern regions will have an increased risk of extreme weather events – with temperatures increasing up to 4 °C in the east and up to 6 °C in the western and central parts of the country.

The impact on South Africa could be devastating and would likely lead to the country becoming a net food importer due to a drastic increase in heat waves and water insecurity across the nation. This in turn is likely to lead to a decrease in human productivity and effects on human health, an economic slowdown, and increased unemployment and inequality.

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SA’s Climate Change Bill

To curb these effects, it’s imperative to slow rising temperatures, therefore urgent action is required to cut emissions to reach net-zero dates faster.

In 2021, South Africa released a revised national climate commitment under the Paris Agreement, designed to accelerate its efforts in confronting climate change.

The new targets intend to limit GHG emissions to 398-510 MtCO2e by 2025, and to 350-420 MtCO2e by 2030 – seeing South Africa’s emissions decline in absolute terms from 2025, a decade earlier than planned.

Government has taken further action by way of introducing a Climate Change Bill (B9-2022) for the stated purpose of enabling the development of an effective climate change response and a long-term, just transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy and society for South Africa in the context of sustainable development. The Bill also recognises the country’s role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Standard Bank’s commitment to tackling climate change

Governments, however, cannot shoulder the burden of climate change alone. As responsible corporate citizens, businesses must also step up to take action.

To this end, the Standard Bank Group has published its own Climate Policy that sets out clear targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions for our new facilities by 2030, our existing operations by 2040, and our portfolio of financed emissions by 2050.

Our commitment also includes a strong focus on financing renewable energy in Africa and supporting sustainable agricultural practices through sustainable loan products.

Importantly, the plans outlined in the policy are intended to ensure that our activities’ social, economic, and environmental impacts create a net positive impact on the continent.

Our climate goals and how we’ll achieve them

Our targets are defined over the short (0-5 years), medium (5-10 years), and long (+10 years) terms, with an overall commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Here are some of the actions we will be taking to achieve this target:

  1. Reduce the direct carbon footprint of our office and branch infrastructure, cash and data centers, and employee travel.
  2. Increase our focus on sustainable finance opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa with a five-year target to mobilise R250 billion – R300 billion in sustainable finance by the end of 2026.
  3. Allocate an additional R50 billion for the financing of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, and ocean power), as well as small- and large-scale hydropower and the production of green hydrogen. We will also underwrite a further R15 billion in the financing of renewable energy power plants over the next three years.
  4. Focus on capacitating sustainable agricultural practices in Africa, promoting reduced carbon emissions, and improving the sector's resilience to climate change risk.
  5. Lower and/or eliminate the finance of non-renewable energy.

How we’re empowering Africa’s green energy revolution

Access to sustainable power is central to economic growth and has long been a major social concern across the African continent. Here’s how we’re enabling our clients to achieve energy independence via renewable sources:

  • Our Africa-China team is assisting clients across the African continent to power their homes and businesses with high-quality solar PV system components sourced directly from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and landed via our end-to-end import trade solution.
  • Our PowerPulse digital platform assists businesses to harness the power of commercial Solar PV by facilitating and funding installations via an end-to-end technical, legal, and funding solution.

Click here to read our full Climate Policy.

Interested to learn more

PowerPulse is an innovative solution that is transforming the way we produce, deliver and consume energy in South Africa. For more information, please visit our PowerPulse website.