Action in Response to Climate Change

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African businesses, like SVAI members Sappi, Safaricom, Exxaro, V&A Waterfront, and Baotree, are actively addressing climate change, reducing emissions, and promoting sustainability through innovative strategies and collaboration.

At the start of this month, Kenya hosted the first ever Africa Climate Summit, with an aim of driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world. With Africa’s abundant natural resources, including arable land and diverse ecosystems. However, climate change and environmental are pressing issues for the continent, standing in the way of further progress, growth and success.

Enter private sector role players. It’s well recorded that when business is able to contribute to scalable solutions for challenges faced by society, that is when we face opportunity to scale these solution and advance impact through collective action. The impact is the same when it comes to our broader shared value community, where through innovations that address social and environmental challenges, organisations can accelerate response to these challenges. Here are some highlights from our network:

Sappi is a global company that produces paper and pulp products. They are taking actions to mitigate climate change risk in various ways. By using renewable energy sources like biomass and hydroelectric power, they are increasingly reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. Sappi is also on an “eco-effective” journey to reduce waste and optimise material and resource use at every opportunity. Sappi recognises that forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change and is taking actions to combat deforestation. Ultimately, by setting sustainability targets, Sappi aims to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve their environmental performance.

Safaricom is a telecommunications company based in Kenya – and an industry leader in East Africa – have made commitments to addressing climate change. Safaricom has committed to being a net-zero emitting company by 2050 by managing operations responsibly, decreasing environmental impact, and collaborating with suppliers and stakeholders to do the same. Furthermore, Safaricom is increasing their use of renewable energy sources like solar power to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. By recognising the effects of a circular economy, this company proactively manages and monitors the production of waste and e-waste – eliminating waste going to landfills by using the avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, other recovery, treat and dispose models. Finally, through innovations and using their influencing power, Safaricom enables customers (including business and government) to reduce environmental footprint using the company’s digital technologies and services.


Exxaro, a mining company based in South Africa, is taking several actions to mitigate climate change and become carbon neutral. Here are some of the things that Exxaro is doing to combat climate change: Exxaro aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5-5% annually and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for scope 1 and 2 emissions. Investing in renewable energy: Exxaro is investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Incorporating environmental performance principles in their ESG management systems, environmental policies, and practices. Exxaro complies with local legislation, management standards, and current and future-based best practices. Participating in voluntary benchmarks means that Exxaro participates in voluntary benchmarks such as the global CDP climate and water disclosure projects.

Overall, Exxaro is committed to sustainability and is taking actions to combat climate change by reducing their carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy, and incorporating environmental performance principles in their operations.

As a complex and diverse neighbourhood, made up of tenants, consumers and other ecosystem players, V&A Waterfront has a variety of responses when it comes to climate-related interventions. From water-saving initiatives, initiated around 2008 (and since 2010 water use has been cut by 61%), the organisation has grown to also have energy-saving measures; waste management and looking at alternatives to landfills (with approximately 37% of waste diverted); as well as eliminating single-use plastics on the premises.

At its core, Baotree is a software company driven by the understanding of the importance of up-to-date and credible data in order for companies to support their environmental and social impact. Furthermore, their easy-to-use software connect people and planet where communities are able to have input and participate in the data collection. And by the nature of being digital, Baotree eliminates the use (and need) of paper and offers quick and efficient reporting.

While opportunities to address climate change as African business are significant, and while challenges exist, those who are responding demonstrate that with the right strategy, innovative thinking, and collaboration, there is opportunity to not only learn from each other but to partner for substantial positive change in advancing climate action while achieving scalability and sustainability.