Thought leaders and industry experts from EY South Africa and GIBS met to discuss the role of financial services in moving South Africa to net zero.
“Meeting climate change targets will require radical changes to be made, and no industry or sector will be left unaffected. The financial sector will be critical to enabling the smooth flow of capital and facilitate this transition process,” GIBS faculty member Thomas Kgokolo said.
Climate change represents a significant challenge that requires a systematic approach to sustainability and decarbonisation, guided by a strong understanding of the risks and opportunities for business.
“There is a critical need for leadership and to equip decision-makers in this transformative journey. Our economy can be rewired through the power of focus and through collaboration among business, government, and financial institutions.”
Clémence McNulty, EY Africa climate change & sustainability leader, said climate change is linked to other challenges on the African continent, such as health and food security: “If you think it’s bad now, it’s going to get significantly worse if we don’t address these issues,” she added.
A change of attitude
Monica Rubombora, EY Africa people advisory services partner, said the shift to net zero has meant “a change in the psyche of professionals in financial services to start behaving as people who are leading this transition.”
A sense of purpose is the real driver for many people working in the financial sector, especially the younger generation, who consider this climate change and a transition to net zero as crucial.
“Organisations must strive to merge their purpose with that of the individual, and not greenwash the issue. It should be part of decision making and part of day-to-day operations.”
While organisations are usually driven to maximise profit, purpose and profit can co-exist, Rubombora said.