Sasol pledges climate action

27th November 2019 By: Bloomberg

Sasol, South Africa’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases after State-owned Eskom Holdings, pledged more clarity on plans to reduce its impact on the environment.

The company, which together with Eskom also produces pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions, said its long-term strategy will be released in November next year.

Sasol has already pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10% by 2030 in its inaugural climate-change report released this year.

The company will lay out plans to use more natural gas, rather than coal, in its operations, as well as so-called green hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energy sources, CEO Fleetwood Grobler said at the company’s annual general meeting.

Sasol is coming under pressure from environmental activists and investors to improve its performance on climate matters. The company refused to put resolutions demanding more clarity on its strategy to shareholders and activists gathered outside the meeting in northern Johannesburg.

Grobler and Chairperson Mandla Gantsho stressed that while the company acknowledges its impact on climate change, its actions need to be balanced with South Africa’s inequality, poverty and unemployment levels in mind.

“No company can have a sustainable future without the support and sympathy of society,” Grobler said. “This involves difficult questions of balance.”

The success of climate mitigation efforts will be one of the measures used to determine Sasol’s executives’ pay from 2021, Grobler said.

“We have to have credible, reasonable plans when we put out our targets,” Grobler said in response to criticism from Tracey Davies, the executive director of Just Share, a shareholder activist group. “If we get more gas or renewables we will adjust targets.’’