Perhaps the hardest lesson companies learned as the Covid-19 pandemic hit is the pivotal role sustainability plays in ensuring an organisation’s resilience. A company’s ability to withstand the chaos of the unpredictable and uncertain times we live in is no longer a nice-to-have but a must. This requires complete transparency and a proactive mindset.
A happy consequence is that many companies now realise that a better sustainability performance will not just bolster their resilience but increase their bottom line too, and ultimately, their value. The race to zero has become a full out sprint for businesses around the world.
The box-ticking exercise of the last decade is finally over. The laggards are painfully sticking out among companies that are setting ambitious targets to up their sustainability performance. It is these companies that are grabbing the attention of investors.
Investment giants such as BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – that are, taken together, the single largest investor in about 90% of the companies that make up the S&P 500 – all have strict ESG approaches in their investment mandates. ESG has become a mandatory measure for investors looking for viable, sustainable companies to invest in.
The race to net zero in business
Another indication that the race to zero is truly on among businesses is the 1225 companies listed on the We Mean Business Coalition platform. One of the ambitious targets that some of these companies are setting or have set include net-zero science-based targets as part of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Science-based targets (SBTs) indicate how much and how quickly businesses need to reduce their GHG emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
The SBTi is an expert panel that provides support to companies wanting to set SBTs, and validates those SBTs to help safeguard a company’s growth and profitability by keeping business relevant and competitive during a transition to a low-carbon economy. By doing so, these companies are ensuring compliance with the transitional risk of not adapting fast enough as well as fulfilling their moral obligation to do their bit to keep average global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.
According to We Mean Business, there are eight South African companies that have committed to net-zero SBTi targets, which presents a massive opportunity for SA companies to take the lead. Among the SA companies that have committed to science-based targets, two are GCX clients, Growthpoint Properties and Emira Property Fund.
GCX assisted Emira Property Fund to become the first company in Africa to set greenhouse gas emissions targets, back in 2018. Emira committed to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 13 percent by 2022, from a 2015 base year.
Growthpoint, the largest commercial property real estate company in South Africa is committed to setting science-based targets as part of its carbon strategy
Liberty Two Degrees, also a GCX client, is another example of a South African company leading the way. They have put ambitious targets in place to reach net-zero by 2030. The property company also recently celebrated a remarkable milestone – achieving Green Star Ratings from Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) across its retail portfolio including the first 6 Star certification at their flagship mall, Sandton City.
Liberty Two Degrees CEO Amelia Beattie poignantly captured the tangible benefits of a net-zero journey for businesses: “Navigating the current crisis, we know that long-term investments that protect value must be maintained. Our commitment to ESG underpins and enables our financial and operational performance and ensures our portfolio remains relevant. Achieving our sustainability objectives reduces our exposure to commercial risk and asset obsolescence by ensuring that our assets are future-ready. We believe that our dedication and commitment to the net-zero journey is an opportunity to further create value in the long-term.”
There is an increasing number of examples of local companies that are starting to walk this journey. In December last year, Nestlé announced that it would be developing South Africa’s first net-zero dairy farm, committing to achieve its target by 2023. Sappi, who also committed to set science-based targets through SBTi, is funding artificial intelligence to bring carbon emissions to net-zero in the paper and pulp industry.
Then there is the genuinely significant commitment by South Africa’s biggest metros – Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and Durban – as part of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to achieve net-zero for all new builds by 2030 and existing buildings by 2050.
GCX can help you drive your environmental performance
With all the fundamental changes in the last decade and current trends slanting heavily towards building sustainable businesses, embarking on a sustainability journey in your business is no longer a question of why, but when and the when being now.
The effects of climate change and its associated risks to businesses and increasing investor expectations in terms of ESG are all factors that make it a no-brainer to put sustainability at the core of your business.
However, the rapidly evolving sustainability landscape coupled with a complex regulatory minefield can be daunting and confusing. GCX Analytics can help you navigate the chaos by measuring and making sense of your data, refining it and putting it to work to drive your environmental and business performance.
GCX Analytics is the ultimate performance management tool to get you to net-zero. GCX Analytics offers 100% data confidence, simplifying sustainability and helping you to confidently set targets and goals that go straight to your bottom line. Our solution provides value to businesses across the corporate value chain from operational to investment level – putting you in the leadership seat to accelerate your business performance
- Measure and analyse
GCX Analytics captures and maps out a vast array of measurements and data sets related to your business assets and GHG emissions inventory. We collate all of this into one centralised dashboard that provides relevant stakeholders with a bird’s eye view of how these assets perform in terms of carbon emissions.
Our data analytics is accurate and one version of the truth, giving you 100% data confidence and complete trust in what your company puts out in the public domain.
GCX is responsible for environmental and waste data analytics for some of the largest property companies in South Africa including, Growthpoint, L2D, Attacq, Sun International, Liberty Group, Discovery, Old Mutual Property, Emira, V&A Waterfront.
2. Create a roadmap for better performance
We start by measuring and analysing your data, and from there, we develop a roadmap to help you navigate your environmental performance. Our approach is to improve the data incrementally, which usually starts with picking the low hanging fruit, which leads to the biggest wins.
3. Achieve net-zero goals and drive transformation
Through our GCX Analytics solution, our clients are future-proofing their businesses and leading the net-zero agenda in South Africa. GCX is proud to have played an enabling role in helping them get there, and we can help your business too.
Get in touch and book a free demo with us today.