SA firms ‘not preparing for climate change risks’ – Business Report

Ingi Salgado writes in Business Report that:

Law firm Webber Wentzel, a sponsor of the South African Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), is warning companies that climate litigation has started to become a reality – and is likely to increase as the effects of climate change become more acute.

Webber Wentzel partner Johann Scholtz said potential claimants included individuals whose health had been affected, those who had suffered property damage or economic loss, NGOs and local and national governments.

“An analysis of these lawsuits shows that they comprise actions against regulators for failing to have adequate standards, challenges to the application of laws and regulations, cases alleging liability for the costs of combating and adapting to climate change and cases based on the failure to curb emissions, including class actions, actions against directors and product liability cases,” he said.

The rest of the article is here.

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About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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One Response to SA firms ‘not preparing for climate change risks’ – Business Report

  1. Mark says:

    In the last few years I have been drawn to this subject, sustainability I mean, and have avidly followed the evolving discussion. So much so, in fact, that I have begun to help a few businesses in the area of sustainability communication, the latter being my core skill.

    It is this core skills applied to sustainability that has me wondering whether, inadvertently, the sustainability experts are not doing themselves a great harm.

    Let me try to put my thoughts into as few words as possible. The sustainability industry seems to have taken overseas constructs, discourse, philosophical underpinnings and so on, and have created messaging, strategies and the like, that have little or nothing to do with the immediate situation that South Africans find themselves in. The result is that some organisations understand more about applying international standards of sustainability practice, it seems, than they do the requirements of businesses in SA.

    Just a few weeks ago, a Branding for Good Conference was held in South Africa. It is a necessary and well considered conference, don’t get me wrong. But until the last minute there was not a single black African speaker slated to appear; the conference was opened with findings of a research project conducted by an overseas company studying overseas conditions; and in not one discussion was the effect of the SA condition considered as part of the local branding initiative. In other words, no one discussed brand building and communication with all the peoples of the country, in a country where poverty directly affects 30% of our people, where millions of households do not have parents, where millions die of HIV/Aids, and where recent surveys show that school children (about 15%) are scared to even go to school.

    I find this incomprehensible, and a sad indictment of the sustainability corps in this country. Sustainability, in the SA context, needs to address carbo and other environmental concerns, but how is it we are so determined to ignore the plight of the poor. How do we come to the conclusion that ignoring the poor and the destitute, who are so numerous as to directly affect society, but highlighting environmental concerns only, can somehow make a local business sustainable?

    I find the lack of balance lamentable, and shameful even, if it is not put right, Sustainability in SA has its own application, and we are determinedly ignoring it – we need to ask ourselves why.

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