CFOs get serious about ESG initiatives

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Top CFOs share how they are ensuring that their organisations’ ESG activities benefit the environment.

CFOs have taken on the new year with a key focus on their ESG strategy. ESG helps businesses attract investors, build customer loyalty, improve financial performance and make business operations sustainable.

Sage's Sustainability and Society Strategy
In June 2021, Sage CFO Jordaan Burger (featured) helped the company launch its Sustainability and Society Strategy, which outlined the company’s commitment to giving individuals, SMEs and our planet the opportunity to thrive.

He partnered with loan provider Kiva to “knock down barriers to economic inequality” as part of its Sustainability and Society Strategy.

Read more: CFO Jordaan Burger unpacks Sage’s new sustainability and society strategy in AME

Implats moves towards carbon neutrality
In January, Implats announced the first of many plans looking at moving to renewables.

CFO Meroonisha Kerber said Implats is not only trying to manage cost, but to move towards carbon neutrality.

Meroonisha added that contract logistics and freight management activities are significant contributors to environmental threats such as air pollution, climate change and resource depletion.

Read more: Implats identifies new renewable energy projects amid carbon tax changes

Imperial Logistics concludes revolving credit facility
Imperial Logistics took on 2022 with a key focus on its ESG strategy, announcing the first of many plans in January, when it concluded a R1 billion sustainability-linked revolving credit facility with Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB).

CFO George de Beer explained that contract logistics and freight management activities are significant contributors to environmental threats such as air pollution, climate change and resource depletion.

Read more: CFO George de Beer unpacks Imperial Logistics’ key focus on reducing its carbon footprint

Fortress REIT flourishes in the JSE
Fortress REIT was fortunate to be granted the listing of a further R1.3 billion sustainability-linked notes following the listing of its three-year sustainability-linked bond of R495 million and a five-year sustainability-linked note of R405 million in August 2021 by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

“By 2025, our goal is to exceed the 12.7MWp installed of solar energy,” said Fortress CFO Ian Vorster. When combined with our latest note, our aim is to provide a total solar energy output target of 25,000MWh of renewable energy by 2025, making us a significant contributor of solar energy within the local REIT sector.”

Ian added that this contribution is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 10,000 average South African homes.

“The scaling up of our renewable energy outputs to deliver more solar energy is aligned with our ongoing strategic ESG plan,” Ian said.

Read more: Fortress plans to exceed 12.7MWp in solar energy by 2025, says CFO Ian Vorster

Vedanta Zinc International’s huge investment
To improve on their ESG activities, Vedanta Zinc CFO Pushpender Singla told Mining Weekly that the company has invested R7 billion into the Gamsberg Phase Two expansion project in the Northern Cape, making the company, and South Africa, the largest zinc producer in Africa.

The investment will double the mine and plant capacity of Gamsberg from four million tons to eight million tons a year, increasing output from 300,000 tons to half a million tons of metal.

“We are trying to convert our tailings into one of the best quality magnetite. So, on the one side we will reduce the impact on the environment, on the other side we will create another product line and employment for another 250 people in the Northern Cape,” he explained.

Read more: Vedanta Zinc to produce ‘green’ zinc in Northern Cape, says CFO Pushpender Singla

Wetility making solar accessible for SA
The Wetility CFO Dawid Swart said in the short term, the follow-on impact the Russia-Ukraine conflict will have on the global economy could have a material influence on the local electricity supply in South Africa.

 

He added that the solution to the electricity problem would be to embrace renewable energy. “Solar energy solutions make perfect sense in Southern Africa because there is a high irradiation rate, population density is low and the costs of solar energy production are decreasing.”

“Most areas of South Africa are averaging 2,500 hours of sunshine a year, and experience high solar irradiation levels of up to 6.5 kWh per square metre per day.”

Read more: South Africa’s move to renewable energy is inevitable, says Dawid Swart

Omnia gets awarded for ESG
And Omnia won an award for the Best Sustainable Diversified Chemicals Group in Africa, making it a leader in ESG activities within an organisation.

Omnia CFO Stephan Serfontein said:

“I am exceptionally pleased about Omnia winning the award, and proud to be part of a company that is dedicated to doing good, while doing business.”

He said that the group is on track to achieve its 2027 goals, which include a 12 percent increase in water recycling, 12 percent increase in renewable energy consumption, and a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions.

“Our vision is to continuously strive to achieve zero harm and make a positive impact through responsible business practices, ultimately contributing to a better world,” he said.

Read more: Stephan Serfontein accredits sustainability award to Omnia’s efforts to do good business

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