Sasol: Industrial-scale greenwash

Sasol recently set new targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, particularly, a 30% reduction by 2030 and “net zero” by 2050. Sasol is undoubtedly a pillar of the South Africa economy, one of the world’s most carbon-intensive, and we would like to be celebrating this apparent transformation. But these new targets are far from being credible, for several reasons:

  • A company that is domiciled in one of the world’s most climate vulnerable regions has a social duty to be correspondingly ambitious; that is, to be far more ambitious than the Paris climate agreement, not just barely match it. Its new targets, by its own admission, do not yet match Paris, much less whatever new ambition may emerge from COP26 in Glasgow.
  • Sasol has a very strong track record… of MISSING its own past GHG emissions reductions targets.
  • Alignment with the Paris climate agreement demands substantial capex and emissions reductions BEFORE 2030, but Sasol plans most of its decarbonisation capex for after 2030.
  • Sasol’s plans are heavily reliant on expanded use of fossil gas that will simply compound climate destruction. Fossil gas is not a climate solution.
  • For Sasol’s targets and policy to be credible, it needs to increase ambition, bring forward capex, acknowledge that fossil gas is not a climate solution, start listening to shareholders and stakeholders, and demonstrate that it is capable of meeting targets as well as of setting them.

Please read our new detailed briefing, Sasol: Industrial-scale greenwash, for more analysis.

Postscript 10 November 2021: Legal experts have penned a warning in Mining Review stating that Sasol and Seriti Resources, a key coal supplier for Eskom, are both potentially at risk of being the targets of litigation for failing to meet ESG standards.