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Unisa Press

Climate Change: A Guide for Corporates

Climate Change

Hennie Stoffberg & Paul Prinsloo
ISBN 971-1-86888-564-0 Unisa Press & Trialogue October 2009

Distributed by Unisa Press and Trialogue, South Africa
Format 215 x 210 mm (full colour throughout, with laminated softcover)
Pages               xvi+ 148
Publish Year     2009
ISBN                 978-1-86888-564-0
SA price: R230,00 (VAT incl)
Rest of the world:
Africa: R242,00 (Airmail incl)
US$39.00 (Airmail incl)
GB ₤23.00 (Airmail incl)
€31.00(Airmail incl)
The book is printed on Sappi triple green – a high-quality coated fine paper which is sustainable
and environmentally sound.

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About the book

“We’re the first generation that has had the power to destroy the planet. Ignoring that risk can only be described as reckless” (Sir Nicholas Stern, 2009)

Not a day passes by without new information emerging about the impact of climate change on our planet or the seemingly relentless pace of change to our world due to climate change. Each day brings forth renewed calls for action – the need for actions from individuals, governments, and increasingly, the corporate world. It is no longer business-as-usual – we can literally no longer afford that.

But how do we react? What can corporations, big and small, do to address climate change? Responding to climate change is becoming a permanent feature on the agendas of companies, NGOs, employees and the broader public. Formulating appropriate responses to climate change is however often surprisingly difficult. Debates and regulations surrounding climate change are clouded in strange scientific terminology and a pile of data which overwhelm us. We may also feel that the scale and scope of climate change is so immense that our individual and corporate responses cannot really make a difference.

This book not only actively demystifies the corporate response to climate change, but also ensures that everyone can do something to address climate change.

  • It leads readers to reconsider the relationship between climate change and the corporate world.
  • This is a compact guided journey into the increasingly regulatory and auditing environment which hold corporations accountable for their carbon footprint.
  • The authors provide key pointers to business in a comprehensive overview of factors to consider when formulating appropriate and effective responses to climate change.
  • Appropriate corporate climate change responses are vital.

To this end, the authors provide an overview of South African media publications which highlights not only the imperative for a corporate response to climate change, but also the change in paradigm faced by business. Here, the reader is drawn into the most current corporate climate change debate through printed media excerpts and accompanying corresponding graphics and photos.

The book continues with an intriguing report on an empirical study conducted on the web database of the newspaper Business Day. Findings point to the most important climate change topics of discussion in specifically the corporate environment over the last 11 years. The local Business Day frequency search is also positioned in an international context with similar searches conducted in the Wall Street Journal, the London Financial Times and the Australian Financial Review.

In conclusion, the book offers a method of corporate climate change response benchmarking, reporting and accounting via a corporate climate change response “checklist” and a description of its use by various corporate stakeholders. This handy checklist is organised into ten domains that will assist business to have an overview of the whole field of climate change and concise pointers in each of these domains. The ten domains are discussed in the following sequence:

  1. Climate Change: Governance
  2. Climate Change: Management Strategy
  3. Climate Change: Risk Exposure
  4. Climate Change: Opportunities
  5. Climate Change: Carbon Performance Improvement
  6. Climate Change: Stakeholder Engagement
  7. Climate Change: Public Disclosure
  8. Climate Change: Assurance
  9. Climate Change: Operational Impact
  10. Climate Change: Adaptation

Recommended as essential reading for a range of audiences, from students, lecturers, journalists, boards of directors, managers, shareholders and a range of other stakeholders, the book provides vital information for strategic planning sessions, preparing for climate change audits and carbon disclosure projects, induction and training sessions, and preparing ourselves for an increasingly carbon-constrained world. Ultimately, Demystifying the corporate response to climate change shows that responding to climate change as corporations is not only necessary but actually possible!

About the Authors

Dr Hennie Stoffberg teaches post graduate and undergraduate students in Architecture at the University of Pretoria and the focus of his research is on climate change and the built environment. He held the position as the Program Manager for the Exxaro Chair in Business and Climate Change at the Centre for Corporate Citizenship of the University of South Africa, during 2008.

Dr Paul Prinsloo is an Education Consultant at the University of South Africa. His research interests include corporate citizenship, sustainability education and teaching about climate change. He consulted widely for a range of institutions including the United Nations Global Compact Learning Forum in Ghana, and regularly consults for various South African universities and universities of technology.

What the critics say

‘The response that corporations must develop to Climate Change is arguably one of the most important and challenging activities that they will undertake in the 21st century which will have significant implications for the world as we know it.  Yet the study of climate change can, from the average manager’s perspective, appear to be filled with incomprehensible scientific facts, glib conventional wisdom, conflicting opinion and the omnipresent danger of inadvertently adopting the perspectives of rogue environmental scientists.  What is needed is a straightforward guide that appeals to the career managers desire for structure, process and predictable outcomes.  This is what Dr. Hennie Stoffberg and Dr. Paul Prinsloo have delivered by producing a very usable booklet for conceptualizing and planning corporate climate change strategy, and the realities of prospering in a low carbon society.  The book is free of jargon, identifies the most relevant experts in the field and defines in the simplest terms the key elements that should constitute a credible corporate response to climate change.  It provides the much needed kick start that we all need to evolve strategies capable of arresting climate change!’

Brian Leroni
Group Corporate Affairs Executive, MASSMART Holdings Limited

 ‘… I think this book is going to be extremely useful. The primary contribution it makes is to draw together almost the entire current universe of measures and expectations of business with regards climate change – in a single, concise book. I have no doubt that this will be an incredible help to business managers who are frequently crying out: `Just tell us, once and for all, what you want from us’.

From the Foreword by Dr Neil Eccles
Acting Director of the Centre for Corporate Citizenship, University of South Africa

`This book is a timely and crucial contribution to assist corporations and broader roleplayer alliances to formulate appropriate and pro-active responses to climate change.’

From the Foreword by Mosibudi Mangena
Former Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa


Tables and Figures viii
Abbreviations ix
Foreword by Mosibudi Mangena, Former Minister of Science and Technology of
South Africa xi
Foreword by Dr Neil Eccles, Acting Director of the Centre for Corporate
Citizenship, University of South Africa xv
Acknowledgements xviii
Synopsis xxi

Part I: Using this Book
1. Empowered to Respond 1

Part II: A Change of Paradigm
2. Introduction 9
2.1 The Climate Change Debate: Its Definition, Scope and Context 10
2.1.1 Defining Climate Change 10
2.1.2 Debates Surrounding Climate Change 13
2.1.3 The Relationship Between Carbon Emissions and Climate Change Action 15
2.1.4 Climate Change Adaptation 16
2.1.5 Issues not Addressed in this Book 17
2.2 A Short Review of Recent Literature 18
2.3 Corporates and Climate Change: Reputational Value and Social Legitimacy 23
2.4 Corporate Climate Change Literacy 29
2.5 Sceptics and Their Role in the Climate Change Debate 31
2.6 Significant Events in the Global Climate Change Debate 32
3. A South African Print Media Perspective 39
3.1 The Unfolding Relationship Between Climate Change and South African Business 39
3.2 Selected Excerpts 42
4. The Business Day Climate Change Study 57
4.1 Context of the Study 59
4.2 Findings of the Study 60
4.2.1 PESTE: Politics 60
4.2.2 PESTE: Economics 63
4.2.3 PESTE: Social 66
4.2.4 PESTE: Technology 69
4.2.5 PESTE: Environment 71
4.3 Interpreting the Findings of the Study 73
4.4 The Study within an International Perspective 77

Part III: Climate Change Checklist
5. Description of Domains 81
5.1 Climate Change: Governance 82
5.1.1 Governance 82
5.1.2 Board Oversight 82
5.2 Climate Change: Management Strategy 84
5.2.1 Executive Management Strategy 82
5.2.2 Operational Management Strategy 86
5.2.3 Emissions Accounting Strategy 88
5.2.4 Adaptation Strategy 91
5.3 Climate Change: Risk Exposure 92
5.3.1 Strategic Risks 92
5.3.2 Competitive Risks 93
5.3.3 Regulatory Risks 94
5.3.4 Fixed Assets, Capital Investments and Operations Risks 94
5.3.5 Product Risks 94
5.3.6 Physical Risks 95
5.3.7 Adaptation Risks 95
5.3.8 Reputation and Brand Risks 96
5.3.9 Risk Responses 97
5.4 Climate Change: Opportunities 98
5.4.1 Corporate Opportunities 98
5.5 Climate Change: Carbon Performance Improvement 102
5.5.1 Performance Improvement 102
5.6 Climate Change: Stakeholder Engagement 104
5.6.1 Stakeholder Engagement 104
5.7 Climate Change: Public Disclosure 107
5.7.1 Public Disclosure 109
5.7.2 Accounting Disclosure 109
5.7.3 The Greenhouse Gas Protocol 110
5.7.4 Other Emissions and Emissions Reductions Data 112
5.8 Climate Change: Assurance 112
5.8.1 Corporate Assurance 113
5.9 Climate Change: Corporate Operational Impact 114
5.9.1 Operational Impact 115
5.10 Climate Change: Adaptation 116
5.10.1 Governance 116
5.10.2 Management Strategy 116
5.10.3 Risk Exposure 116
5.10.4 Opportunities 116
5.10.5 Carbon Performance Improvement 117
5.10.6 Stakeholder Engagement 117
5.10.7 Public Disclosure 118
5.10.8 Assurance 118
5.10.9 Operational Impact 118

6. Conclusion 121

About the Authors 123
References 125
Appendix A 131
Index 149