With the recent introduction of the Carbon Tax Act in 2019, large industry will once again be required to submit details on carbon emissions as part of their annual tax submission to SARS. As the deadline looms for the payment of the 2020 carbon tax, South Africa’s large greenhouse gas emitters like Sasol, ArcelorMittal, Exxaro and PPC have been actively engaging with companies that can provide them with verified carbon credits which can be used to offset 5–10% of their taxable emissions. These carbon credits, together with their own sustainable carbon emission mitigation projects, can greatly reduce their tax liabilities.
A proudly South-African company involved in the production and issuance of carbon credits, Wonderbag, recently caught the attention of Sasol, not only for its domestic carbon compliance, but also for its unique humanitarian focus and positive social impact.
According to Wonderbag’s CFO, Rob McIntosh, an Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement has been entered into with Sasol for a substantial number of carbon credits to be delivered by Wonderbag. “We are excited to be partnering with Sasol in their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development in South Africa. At Wonderbag, we are very proud to have successfully developed a unique carbon mitigation model that helps to counteract the release of CO2, whilst simultaneously improving the livelihood of people across the country,” says McIntosh.
Under the Carbon Tax Act, entities exceeding the threshold of 10 MW installed thermal input capacity threshold for combustion activities that result in emissions, can use domestic carbon offsets to reduce their carbon tax liabilities. South Africa is the 14th largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in the world, and carbon tax was introduced as a “new” tax effective from July 2019, aimed at reducing GHG emissions in a sustainable, cost effective and affordable manner.
“Sasol is committed to reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions profile through various mitigation activities, including carbon offsets, which are recognised under article 6 of the Paris Agreement as a critical tool to reach climate ambitions,” said Shamini Harrington, Vice President: Climate Change at Sasol. “Our strategic choices and updated Future Sasol strategy informs our path to ensuring Sasol remains sustainable in the long-term and in a carbon-constrained future.”
According to the carbon advisory firm Promethium Carbon, Wonderbag is one of the few, reputable and scalable carbon credit projects of its kind – not only in South Africa, but globally. Adding to this, Robin Rix, Verra’s Chief Policy and Markets Officer says, “Wonderbag has developed an innovative way to impact the climate and enhance the well-being of local communities — benefits that Verra’s standards assess and measure with robust and credible methodologies. Carbon crediting is a way for companies to minimize their carbon footprint after they have maximized their efforts to reduce internal emissions — a benefit for the world at large”. Verra is a US-based non-profit organisation that administers the world’s leading carbon credit standard, VCS (Verified Carbon Standard).
Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have increased by about 90% since 1970, constituting about 78% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which is the primary cause of climate change. To date, there are only 26 registered carbon credit projects listed on South Africa’s Carbon Offset Administration Systems (COAS) of which there are approximately only 5 million verified carbon credits currently available for businesses to purchase to offset carbon emissions.
“The Wonderbag is about more than just carbon credits, it is ‘Carbon that Counts’ – it’s an investment in people enabling resilient communities to emerge. This transaction with Sasol marks the start of a very important step in acknowledging and meeting the huge demand for special carbon offset projects that not only help heal our planet, but that also give back to the communities that are most affected by climate change. Our unique model for carbon offsets helps women to generate an income, gives an opportunity to young girls to go to school, and is a catalyst for the women in our communities to start their own businesses. We are excited about what the future holds for Wonderbag and forward thinking companies like Sasol to shift the status quo of dire poverty, and enable resilience within homes across South Africa – enabling economic freedom and dignity for all. Together we can all be part of the Recipe for Change, that our world desperately needs,” adds Wonderbag Founder and CEO, Sarah Collins.