The sustainability movement has been increasing in momentum over the past number of years-both on a global scale and in South Africa. There has been a mass mobilisation of the younger generation around climate change, the most outspoken being Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. She addressed the World Economic Forum Annual meeting in 2020 at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, stating: "why is it so important to stay below 1.5 degrees celsius? Because even at 1 degree people are dying from climate change ... with today's emissions levels, the remaining budget is gone within less than eight years."
There have been some positive developments recently. There is a growing acceptance and integration of Environmental, Social and Governance principles among South African corporates, who are recognising that this is essential to attracting investment and aligning with global expectations of corporate responsibility and sustainable impact.
This trend is likely to speed up in 2023. The 2022 COP27 meeting was held in Egypt in early November 2022. International conferences and agreements serve to underpin many of the policies and legislation that the South African government has implemented, including the Carbon Tax Act (no.15 of 2019), and the Climate Change Bill, 2022. However, in real terms there is still a very long way to go – and in a 2018 report by the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), it was stated that 12 years are left to turn the fight against climate change around (i.e. by 2030).
This guide aims to provide the reader with an overview of the current environmental crisis and sustainability issues facing our plant, the concept of sustainable development, ESG and the role that stakeholders ranging from international bodies (such as the various UN organisations), national governments, non‑governmental organisations (NGO's), businesses and organisations can take in ensuring that the current generation of humans live sustainably and work for the benefit of the future generations to come.
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