Sasol Ups Its Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets in SA to 30% by 2030

  • South Africa’ petro-chemical giant, Sasol, has announced it has stepped up its 2030 scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target, from an initial 10% for its South African operations, announced last year, to 30% for its Energy and Chemicals businesses, off a 2017 baseline.
  • The company is also introducing a scope 3 reduction target, for its Energy Business, off a 2019 baseline which includes no investment in new coal reserves. 
  • Sasol is South Africa’s second highest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its Synfuels plant in Secunda is reportedly the largest single-source point of emissions on the planet. 
  • Sasol is listed as one of the so-called Carbon Majors, the 100 companies estimated to be responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Based on detailed assessments and modelling, our 2030 target can be delivered without divestments and offsets, but through the direct decarbonisation of our existing assets,” said Fleetwood Grobler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sasol.

“This will be done through a mix of energy and process efficiencies, investments in renewables and a shift to incremental natural gas as a transition feedstock for our Southern African value chain. These solutions are well known and mostly under our control, and the investments required are cost-effective, preserving strong returns in our business, above the cost of capital.”

Beyond 2030, Sasol has more than one viable pathway to get to its net zero ambition by 2050, with different options to transform its Southern Africa value chain by progressively shifting its feedstock away from coal, towards more transition gas, and then, green hydrogen and sustainable carbon over the longer term, as economics improve for these options.

“In an uncertain future, this approach offers agility and enables us to pivot as cost effective mitigation levers become available. We are also avoiding infrastructure lock-in and regret capital spend,” said Grobler.

Link to full summary of Sasols carbon emissions strategy HERE 

Sasol’s Secunda Plant billowing carbon emissions 24/7. Image credit: GBA Stock

Does Sasol really care?

Sasol was heavilly criticised for its previous Climate Change Roadmap released in August 2020. They continue to transgress environemntal laws. Findings by inspectors from the Department of Environmental Affairs that Sasol’s Secunda facility was in violation of environmental laws in April 2019 and again in February 2020, and enforcement action that has been initiated by the Department against Sasol in February 2020. These violations as reported by the Department in its annual National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report (2019-2020), most of which constitute criminal offences under environmental laws. 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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