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CNG in the Event Greening Forum spotlights

The Event Greening Forum interviewed Nishanthi Lambrichs, CNG carbon advisor and Programme Manager for GreenDreams and GreenSeat. Both initiatives were developed by us to help the accommodation and the travel sectors, respectively, take action on climate change.

Q. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU, PERSONALLY, START TO DEVELOP AN AWARENESS ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY, AND A DESIRE TO CHAMPION IT THROUGH YOUR WORK?

Growing up in a country where it’s the norm to separate your waste, cycle everywhere and take public transport on a daily basis, creates a certain awareness for green living and sustainability. Moving to South Africa was a wake-up call in many ways. I worked in the event industry in the Netherlands and the sustainability aspects are important topics on the agenda. When I moved to South Africa, I realised that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. This inspired me to get involved in the sustainability sector; help set the standard and raise awareness in order to create change.

Q. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT CLIMATE NEUTRAL GROUP SOUTH AFRICA, AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT IT?

I’m a carbon advisor at CNG and mainly focus on assisting companies within the hospitality industry to gain insight into their carbon footprint, enabling them to reduce and offset their emissions. Our GreenDreams initiative helps hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses in South Africa put measures in place to take responsibility for their environmental impact. [You can read an article on The Maslow’s success with this programme here.] I’m also responsible for GreenSeat: our carbon initiative for the travel sector (we would like to refer to it as the boarding pass to climate neutral flying). We offer several unique tools that help businesses measure, change and finally green their business travel habits.

And, last but not least, there’s Climate Neutral Events. The first step we take to create a carbon neutral event would be to get insights into your event’s carbon footprint in order to set a baseline. The second step is to set targets and reduce your carbon footprint. And, because we, unfortunately, can’t reduce the footprint to zero carbon emissions, investing in offsets is a great way to reduce your climate impact. Assisting companies during this journey and making this world a little greener is what motivates me to go to work every morning.

Q. DOES CLIMATE NEUTRAL OFFSET ITS OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT, AND IF SO, HOW? 

Yes, we do offset our own carbon footprint with a basket of various Gold Standard projects: Biogas Tanzania, Kenya and Cambodia.

Q. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CARBON OFFSET PROJECT YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT?

There are currently two projects within our portfolio that I really like. The Wonderbag and, our latest addition, Boreholes in Africa. The Wonderbag is a non-electric heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to the boil by conventional methods to continue to cook for up to 12 hours without using additional energy usage. The Wonderbag offset has significant sustainable development benefits. Firstly, the program creates employment in South Africa, where the bags are used in large numbers. Secondly, field surveys indicate that users of the bags have reduced fuel bills and finally, there is published evidence that reduced consumption of fossil fuels drives down illnesses caused by fumes, smoke, and soot.

The Boreholes in Africa initiative operates in Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, and Eritrea. Here, like anywhere else in the world, clean drinking water is vitally important. Offsetting 1 tonne of CO2 translates into 1.405 litres of clean drinking water for rural households. I think this is a great offset project, especially since access to water is one of the highest threats climate change poses.

Q. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE SA EVENTS INDUSTRY TO MAKE IT MORE SUSTAINABLE, WHAT WOULD THAT ONE THING BE?

I find it difficult to pin this down to just one thing, as there are still so many aspects we need to work on. Education and creating awareness for what we try to accomplish is very important though. People need to get a better understanding of what will happen if we don’t take action because we are destroying our beautiful planet if we continue like this.

Transport is an important topic as well, especially since people in South Africa are so used to driving by themselves in their own car to events etc. Of course, safety is playing an important role in this, but organizing more shared transport for events would be a great start. On top of that a lot of people are flying in from different cities, therefore, it would be great to make flight offsetting the norm.

Personally, I’m big on plastic, we should really stop using it, and make conscious decisions to do so as event organizers. For example no straws, but supply bamboo straws instead. At the end of the day, it is better to start with something small, rather than doing nothing at all.

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Greenhouse Gas Reporting & Carbon Tax courses

We have decided to reschedule the first series of our new training courses on the Carbon Tax, reporting regulations and carbon inventories, originally scheduled for 18-22 June in Johannesburg, to a later date around end August/beginning September. The reason is to allow the content to be better aligned with a number of relevant regulatory announcements and publications that are expected to be made by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the National Treasury. We will provide additional information as soon as possible.

We regret however any inconvenience this has caused to your busy schedule. For more information please do not hesitate to contact Silvana Claassen at 078 097 0852 or silvana.claassen@climateneutralgroup.co.za.

The tools to achieve and maintain compliance

Three new courses on topics relevant to South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Presented by Silvana Claassen of Climate Neutral Group and Adam Simcock, Chairman of Carbon Check South Africa, in collaboration with Naresh Badhwar, Head of Sustainability of Carbon Check India.

 

When?      18 June – 22 June 2018 from 08h30 to 16h00 (registration from 08h00)

Where?    Future Space, 1st Floor | 61 Katherine Street | Sandton 2196

Why?        To equip companies with the tools to manage and report on Greenhouse Gas emissions and ultimately enable businesses to calculate their own carbon tax liability.

 

What to expect:

These exciting and comprehensive courses focus on the following topics:

  • Mandatory reporting – why, what and how must reporting be done?
  • Carbon Tax – how to calculate tax liability and use allowances to maximise tax reductions?
  • GHG Emissions Inventory – how to identify, calculate and report emissions as per regulatory requirements?

 

Mon 18 June – Mandatory GHG Emissions Reporting 1-day Course @R2,900 (Excl. VAT)  

Tue 19 June – Carbon Tax 101, 1-day Course  @ R2,900 (excl. VAT)                                       

Wed 18 – Fri 22 June  GHG Emissions Inventory 3-day Course @ R7,900 (excl. VAT)          

Register for all three courses and pay only R 12 500 excl. VAT instead of R 13,700 excl. VAT

 

REGISTER NOW

 

In partnership with:

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SA Cabinet approves Climate Change Bill

24/5/18 (Carbon Pulse) – South Africa’s cabinet on Thursday approved the government’s proposed carbon tax bill, bringing the long-delayed legislation a step closer to becoming reality.

The bill, which finally entered the parliamentary process after years of hold-ups, will now proceed to a public consultation before it is put to MPs for a vote, with the government hoping to formally introduce the tax in Jan. 2019. The proposal has already had two years of extensive consultation on various drafts and at least another five years of planning before that.

Under the current draft, the tax’s base level would start at R120/tonne ($9.66), rising annually by 2% plus inflation until the end of the first phase (2022), and then align with inflation after that.

However, all emitters will face an effective rate of R6-48/tonne based on the suite of exemptions available and the admissibility of offsets, with some companies able to reduce their tax burdens by as much as 95%. A basic tax-free allowance of 60% is offered to all emitters, with an additional 10% for having process or fugitive emissions.

Another variable allowance of up to 10% is available for trade-exposed sectors, with an additional 5% available for above-average performance relating to sectoral benchmarks. Beyond that, a further 5% can be applied by companies who have developed an annual carbon budget and report it to the government, which itself is planning to design national carbon budgets to help South Africa’s Paris Agreement targets.

Companies will also have an offset usage limit of 5-10% depending on what sector they’re in. The government in June 2016 published draft guidelines outlining the eligible certification and project types but limiting use to credits generated domestically. But big energy users including Sibanye-Stillwater and ArcelorMittal oppose the tax, arguing that even the heavily-discounted levy is unaffordable and will jack up power prices, and therefore should be scrapped or further delayed.

The tax will affect virtually all areas of South Africa’s economy, covering most stationary and non-stationary sources and applying to fossil fuel combustion, fugitive emissions, and industrial processes.

Waste, agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sectors are exempt from paying it or performing MRV until 2022 due to the difficulty in accurately measuring the output from those sources.

A national carbon tax was first suggested by South Africa in 2010, a year before it hosted the annual UN climate talks. But progress has been slow, with the government only publishing the first draft in Nov. 2015.

South Africa’s Paris Agreement pledge requires its GHG emissions to peak in 2020 to 2025, plateau for a 10-year period from 2025 to 2035, then decline from 2036 onwards. More than 80% of its emissions come from its coal-dominant energy sector.

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WORKSHOP: developing carbon offset projects

Climate Neutral Group cordially invites you to attend our business breakfast and informal discussion on the topic: “Developing Carbon Projects”.

After a successful Carbon Tax Essentials business breakfast in Johannesburg, businesses started to contact us for more information about how to develop carbon offset projects. Therefore, Climate Neutral Group is hosting another workshop, and this time during African Utility Week in Cape Town. The focus will be on the essential elements of developing an emission reduction project that can generate additional income through the sale of carbon credits within the context of South Africa’s future compliance carbon market.

The key objective of this essential workshop is to simplify the highly complex nature of carbon asset development. The timing of this workshop is very appropriate: there are only eight months left before the implementation of South Africa’s carbon tax. By purchasing carbon offsets, carbon tax liable companies will be able to reduce their tax liability. This can be a good opportunity for project developers.

This workshop will provide clarity to businesses who are unsure whether their envisaged project could yield carbon credits or to those who simply want to better understand the processes and costs involved in developing a carbon project.

Key focus areas to be covered include the South African carbon market and legislative landscape, stages of a carbon project as well as transaction costs, timelines, and carbon revenue potential. The various structures of an Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) will also be discussed. A number of practical examples will be used to ensure participants of the workshop leave with a good understanding of all the key elements of a carbon project.

Speakers:
•    Franz Rentel, Country Director South Africa, Climate Neutral Group
•    Silvana Claassen, Senior Carbon Advisor, Climate Neutral Group

Please note: seating is limited to 30 people. Please RSVP early to avoid disappointment. 

CostR350 (ex VAT) / person; CNG clients: Free

Date:      16 May 2018
Time:      07:30-09:30 (breakfast served from 07:00)
Venue:    Robben Island Room, The Westin Cape Town (across from the CTICC)

 

REGISTER NOW

CNG partners with Confronting Climate Change

Working together to make agricultural value chains climate neutral

Climate Neutral Group (CNG) and Confronting Climate Change (CCC) have joined hands to assist South African fruit and wine farmers towards achieving climate neutrality for their products, including climate neutral wine. Through this collaboration, CNG and CCC offer a turnkey approach that turns challenges associated with climate change into opportunities for their clients.

Taking 100% responsibility

CCC helps South African fruit and wine farmers calculate and understand the carbon footprints of their operations and value chains by calculating the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions they generate per year and identifying key emissions sources. Typical GHG sources within agriculture include the use of agrochemicals, cooling, packaging, and freight as well as fuel consumption.

Through the implementation of new technologies and operational strategies, farmers are working hard at reducing the carbon footprints of their operations and/or products. Inevitably, some elements of a product’s carbon footprint are incredibly difficult and costly to eliminate. From here, the best and most cost-effective option is to offset these unavoidable emissions through the purchase of carbon credits from verified carbon offset projects. This allows farmers to take 100% responsibility for their environmental impact whilst labelling their product “climate neutral”

Climate Neutral Guaranteed

Gaining momentum across Europe’s food and beverages sector, Climate Neutral Group’s Climate Neutral Guaranteed standard and associated climate neutral logo ensure that the steps taken by businesses towards climate neutrality have been tested against strict international criteria.

The Climate Neutral Guaranteed standard helps businesses to efficiently and clearly communicate their climate leadership role to consumers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. This is critical in fostering a new generation of socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable businesses.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FACTSHEET ABOUT OUR EXCITING PARTNERSHIP!

Please contact Anel Blignaut (Blue North Sustainability) or Franz Rentel (CNG) for more information.

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Welcome to the CNG Team: Silvana Claassen

Global climate change awareness is growing, particularly in terms of what companies can do to reduce and eliminate their environmental impacts and become corporate climate action leaders. Climate Neutral Group, as a result, has been growing too! Earlier this year we welcomed senior carbon advisor Silvana Claassen to our South African team.

1) Why and when did you join Climate Neutral Group?

I joined Climate Neutral Group on 1 April 2018 after a very inspiring meeting with its country director Franz. I figured that my own aspirations to contribute to climate change management and mitigation are in line with Climate Neutral Group’s mission and vision.

2) What do you hope to achieve as a carbon adviser at Climate Neutral Group?

I am passionate about helping businesses understand how climate change can impact their organisations and how they can adapt to the dynamics involved with South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy. I would love to play an active role in this. I have to note that the country’s journey, including the recent promulgation of the Emissions Reporting Regulations, its carbon tax measures and the approval of the Climate Change Bill, is in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP). This government-initiated strategy aims to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth, eliminate poverty, and reduce inequality whilst protecting the environment.

3) What has been the highlight since you joined Climate Neutral Group?

What has stood out are the face-to-face dialogues with several clients. These have contributed to an increased understanding of the challenges these businesses, and the country’s private sector as a whole, are facing when it comes to managing their greenhouse gas emissions.

4) How important is it that companies in South Africa (and beyond) start and up their efforts to minimise their impact on the planet?

Having specialised in the matter since 2011, I know climate change is a genuine threat to the planet, to every living being, and to every single business. Global action by companies in South Africa and elsewhere, as well as measures from governments and citizens, is fundamental to protect the planet for current and future generations. We all need to become corporate climate action leaders.

5) How important is offsetting to mitigate climate change?

Offsetting is necessary to achieve carbon neutrality, or at least to mitigate emissions that would not have occurred without it. It is a tool that is used to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions that are unavoidable given the current state of technology. Last but certainly not least, fighting climate change also forms part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Because of my background and the work I do, I fully support these 17 goals, which were adopted in 2015.

6) What are your three best tips for carbon tax-liable companies who seek to become climate neutral?

Start by measuring your organisation’s carbon footprint to understand the impact of your business activities in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Secondly, talk to a carbon specialist to design a meaningful strategy to reduce your footprint, set future reduction targets and identify cost-effective measures to enable achieving these targets. Finally, offset what you can’t avoid and make an impact somewhere else through the purchase of carbon credits from verified offset projects. It is important to know offsetting has socioeconomic benefits too, such as improved (indoor) air-quality, women empowerment, and food security.

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The Maslow Hotel partners with GreenDreams

The Maslow Sandton has partnered with GreenDreams – developed by Climate Neutral Group to help hotels take action on climate change – as part of its efforts in optimising the eco-friendliness and resource efficiency of its conferencing facilities and achieving its green goal to be carbon neutral.

The Maslow hotel will offset the carbon emissions generated by the use of their meeting rooms and conference facilities by investing in carbon offsets which will be used to fund the Wonderbag Project. Certified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the project provides communities with access to greener, safer and more reliable energy to cook their everyday meals.

“The Maslow Sandton cares about the environment and takes to heart its obligation to operate in a sustainable manner. As the need for lighting, catering, heating and cooling in conferencing venues contributes to the generation of greenhouse gas emissions, we wanted to limit the impact of these operations on the environment, with the goal to make our venues carbon neutral,” says Ashwin Jose, general manager at The Maslow.

Boosting resource efficiency

The Wonderbag, developed in South Africa, is an innovative cooker that relies on the age-old concept of heat retention cooking to reduce energy needs. Once food has been brought to the boil using a heat source, the warm pot containing the food is placed immediately in the Wonderbag and the food slowly cooks without using any additional energy. A Wonderbag can be used to cost-effectively prepare a wide range of one-pot dishes, casseroles, curries, cooked salads, and more. The Wonderbag also saves water (due to less evaporation), with one bag saving as much as 150 litres per year.

“Both business and leisure travellers are becoming more responsible about their travel choices, and are looking for convenient ways to green their travelling as much as they can. Also, an increasing number of companies are looking for conference venues that are carbon neutral. We are excited that the Maslow Hotel Sandton has joined an ever-increasing number of hotel chains across the world that are taking action against climate change,” says Nishanthi Lambrichs, Programme Manager for GreenDreams.

“We have various initiatives underway to improve the resource efficiency of our operations and we are also pursuing carbon offsetting. By offsetting the carbon emissions generated by our meeting rooms and conference facilities with the Wonderbag project, we are making strides towards being carbon neutral while supporting a sustainable project that is aimed at improving the quality of life of people in our local communities. About 22,485 people have been reached with clean cooking thanks to The Maslow’s contribution in carbon offsets,” says Jose.

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Canon SA on its way towards climate neutrality

For the third consecutive year, our client Canon South Africa has reached its target to offset its carbon footprint by a minimum of 365 tons of CO2e. Now well on its way to becoming a climate neutral business, Canon South Africa offset over 365 tonnes of emissions, equaling 19,34% of its carbon footprint, in 2017. This is buoyed by the 23,11% and 15,03% the company offset in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

“Canon South Africa is on the road to climate neutrality,” says Iza Daly, sustainability manager and EMEA internal environment auditor. “This is a goal close to our heart. We have several optimisation programmes in place to improve the resource and energy efficiency of our operations.”

Greener business through offsetting

“Carbon offsetting is aligned with these initiatives to make our business greener. Carbon offsetting allows us to reduce our carbon footprint while supporting sustainable projects that are aimed at improving the quality of life of people threatened by the impact of climate change,” she said, not9ng that Canon South Africa is working with Climate Neutral Group to offset its carbon emissions by supporting carbon reduction projects.

“Three years ago, we set our target to reduce our carbon footprint by offsetting a minimum of 365 tonnes of CO2e annually. We have managed to achieve this target every year since and we are steadfast in our commitment to do the same again in 2018. The more we are able to offset, the more we can help communities.”

Offsetting and the SA Carbon Tax

Carbon offsetting is achieved by taking responsibility for one’s carbon footprint by financing carbon reduction projects elsewhere. Carbon offsetting will ultimately see Canon South Africa reduce the amount it pays in carbon tax. Canon South Africa offsets its annual carbon emissions through the Wonderbag. Developed in South Africa, the Wonderbag is a cooker that relies on the age-old concept of heat retention to save on energy costs.

Once food has been brought to the boil using a conventional heat source, the warm pot containing the food is placed immediately in the Wonderbag which slowly cooks the food without using any additional energy. Wonderbags can be used to cost-effectively prepare a wide range of one pot dishes, casseroles, curries, cooked salads, and more.

The power of the Wonderbag

The Wonderbag also saves water (due to less evaporation), with one bag saving as much as 150 litres per year. So this means for every one ton of CO2 emissions that Canon South African helps to offset, it also enables three Wonderbags to be distributed, which in turn saves 450l water per year.

According to Franz Rentel from the Climate Neutral Group, by offsetting over 365 tons of CO2e in 2017, Canon South Africa helped to distribute 1095 Wonderbags.

“This contributed to water savings of around 160,000 liters per year. And remember a Wonderbag can last for up to 10 years, so the water savings will be higher over the lifespan of the bags,” Daly adds. “This is particularly significant in the Western Cape which is in the grips of a severe water shortage that has called everyone in the province to find more water-economical ways of living and working.”

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INVITE: Carbon Tax Essentials breakfast event

We invite you to our “Carbon Tax Essentials” business breakfast on 12 April 2018 (08:00-10:00) at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton.

The regulation of carbon emissions in South Africa is advancing rapidly and is becoming increasingly complex. This includes the publication of the GHG Reporting Regulations in April 2017, the publication of the Pollution Prevention Plans Regulations in July 2017, and more recently, the release of the Carbon Tax Bill in December 2017 which is set to come into effect 1 January 2019.

Comments from the public on the Draft Carbon Tax Bill included that it is complex and therefore it remains a challenge for organisations to assess the impact on their bottom-line. This interactive seminar will focus on assisting companies to understand the implications of South Africa’s proposed carbon tax and offset legislation.

Climate Neutral Group will host a breakfast-workshop at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton on 12 April (08:00-10:00) during which it will present all essential carbon tax elements companies and organisations should understand. Participants are then invited to engage in an informal discussion about the topic, allowing them to identify concerns and ask questions on carbon tax-related matters.

These essential topics include the various carbon tax allowances that exist, what companies must consider in order to benefit from the Carbon Tax, and what mechanisms exist to reduce their tax liability.

Other topics on the agenda include a brief analysis of the various financial and tax implications, which greenhouse gas-emitting activities result in carbon tax payments, and the relationship between the proposed carbon tax and the GHG Reporting Regulations. We will also have a closer look at how offsets can reduce a company’s carbon tax liability. Finally, we will demonstrate various ways on how companies can calculate their carbon tax obligation.

Speakers:
•    Franz Rentel, Country Director South Africa, Climate Neutral Group
•    Silvana Claassen, Senior Carbon Advisor, Climate Neutral Group

Date:      12 April 2018
Time:      08:00-10:00 (arrival 07:45 for 08:00)
Venue:    The Duke Room, The Maslow Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg

* the conference facilities at The Maslow Hotel are climate neutral. All emissions generated by the venue have been offset with our Wonderbag carbon offset project

Please note: seating is limited to 20 people. Please RSVP early to avoid disappointment.
Cost: R350 (ex VAT) / person. CNG clients: Free.

REGISTER NOW

Media: please email us!

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Deadline GHG Emission Reporting: 31 March!

The National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations came into effect on 3 April 2017, with the first submission deadline being set for 31 March 2018. The purpose of these regulations is to allow the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to gather information from businesses to assist South Africa to update and maintain a National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This is a requirement under the Paris Climate Agreement, which South Africa ratified in November 2016.

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions companies report will be used as the basis for their carbon tax calculations. Companies, in control of certain GHG emitting activities and which exceed a predetermined threshold, will be required to submit GHG emission data in a format prescribed by the Regulations. The calculations of their emissions must be done in line with Technical Guidelines. These were published with the Regulations. Companies should note that the calculation methodologies in these Technical Guidelines differ from the conventional corporate calculation methodologies as GHG Protocol Corporate Standard and ISO14064.

STEPS YOUR COMPANY SHOULD TAKE NOW: 

  1. Determine whether it is in control of an activity listed in Annexure 1 of the Regulations,
  2. Determine whether the installed capacity, associated with that activity, exceeds the indicated threshold. If so, register your company and familiarise yourself with the NAEIS portal. Report your emissions by 31 March 2018 (as per the National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations). This is mandatory.
  3. The emissions reported to the Department of Environmental Affairs are the exact same emissions that will be subject to carbon tax payments. The carbon tax act should be effective from 1 January 2019. This means your company will pay carbon taxes to SARS over the emissions generated in the 2019 calendar year.
  4. Start planning now as to how to reduce your company’s possible future carbon tax exposure. You could look at ways to lower your operations’ GHG emissions through technological interventions. You could also think about offsetting, known as investing in carbon offsets.

Do you need more information? Please download our Mandatory GHG Reporting Factsheet!