Eighth reason why you must pay attention to Green Growth – Climate change is already posing a risk to bottom lines

Kay Walsh of Deloitte has written an article listing 10 compelling reasons why South African companies must pay attention to Green Growth. Sustainability and climate change is at the top of the agenda for most companies and must be taken very seriously. Here is the eighth reason why companies need to pay attention to “Green Growth”.

Contact Kay Walsh at kaywalsh@deloitte.co.za or visit the Deloitte Sustainability and Climate Change website for more information.

Climate change is a fact and is already posing a risk to bottom lines

One of the most obvious reasons for supporting Green Growth is the potential impact of climate change on the world, on Africa, and on South Africa in particular. The Stern review (2006) famously discussed the effects of global warming and a changing environment on the world economy. It concluded that large irreversible impacts from climate change could be anticipated, that basic elements of life would be affected (access to water, food, health and land use) and that the impacts could be from 5% of GDP up to 20%, depending on assumptions used.

Government has noted that the scientific evidence for a link between increasing atmospheric concentrations of GHGs and rising global temperatures is overwhelming and that even if GHG emission were stabilized at 2006 levels average global temperatures are likely rise by between 2-5°C. This would have a serious impact on human life and the environment particularly in a water-stressed developing country like South Africa where 64% of people are still employed in the primary sector.

The risks arising out of climate change, such as increased temperatures negatively impacting African crop yields, food security, subsistence farmers, and access to water, are enormous and worrying. These could cause mass migrations of people and increased political instability. These are very real risks for business operating in or adjacent to these areas.

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