Banking group Nedbank sustainability carbon specialist Dr Marco Lotz announced that the Carbon Footprinting Guide was available for download free of charge at The Glass Recycling Company, South Africa’s official organisation for promoting glass recycling, The Glass Recycling Company’s inaugural Green Dialogues conference at the Holiday Inn, in Sandton, took place in May.
“The main aim of the guide is to demystify carbon footprint approaches and help readers grasp the main concepts, as well as to expose them to know-how with regard to emissions calculations,” adds Lotz, emphasising that the guide has been distilled from a variety of sources to provide useful guidance on effective carbon dioxide waste management specifically suited to South Africa.
“Nedbank hopes to play some small part in the success and longevity of those companies that are starting on or enhancing their carbon reduction journeys,” says Nedbank chief executive Mike Brown.
Dealing with Change
“With the current South African regulatory developments, organisations must be aware that carbon and other environmental taxes are going to be implemented in some manner,” Lotz says.
He notes that, in less than a decade, the mindset has changed and shareholders are pressuring listed companies to disclose more information regarding their impact on the environment and meet the requirements of current legislation, as well as proactively pollute less than what is legally allowed.
There is a plethora of credible information in the public domain regarding carbon footprinting; however, the information is generally not user-friendly as it is written in a nonengaging and extremely technical manner. The result is that we do not have the quality and depth of carbon footprinting knowledge in the market that we require, Lotz points out.
He notes that the guide will be updated next year to take new emission factors into account, such as the tweaks required for petrol and diesel emission factors.
Lotz says that the company is satisfied with the positive response to the guide, as there have been about 54 000 downloads to date.
“There is no benchmark to compare the guide to, but the number of downloads has exceeded expectations. “We would have been ecstatic if we reached 5 000 downloads. Clearly we addressed a need with this publication,” adds Lotz.
Further, he adds that Nedbank is encouraging other companies to sponsor textbooks or guides, such as this one, to be used at educational institutions as they are expensive for students studying in fields that touch on carbon footprinting to buy.
Carbon Footprinting Guide is being used as a textbook at Stellenbosch University (Sustainability Institute) and the University of Pretoria (Graduate School of Technology Management), with more institutions to adopt it soon.
“Corporate-sponsored textbooks will lead directly to lower education costs for students,” highlights Lotz.
Bridging the Gap
The guide aims to bridge the gap between natural scientists, engineering professionals and commerce professionals, as it will provide these fields of expertise in a common language by which carbon footprinting will be better understood, adds Lotz.
He says it is ironic that scientists and engineers are mostly responsible for calculating carbon footprints, while commerce experts, such as char- tered accountants, audit the carbon footprints. “If we do not find common ground for all parties, we are setting ourselves up for failure.”
Lotz emphasises that students studying in the field of carbon footprinting and disciplines related to it need to be properly prepared for the ever-evolving world, as every company is tasked ethically, and soon by regulatory means, with monitoring the pollution that it creates.