As the world’s 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, South Africa’s carbon footprint is through the roof. While it is true that these emissions are principally due to our heavy reliance on coal (particularly when it comes to our electricity grid), the World Wildlife Fund estimates that our ecological footprint is about 2,8 hectares per person. This is concerning when you consider that the planet can only support an average of 1,8 hectares per person. With this in mind, the SAICA’s Central Region Office has challenged SAICA members and associates across the country to join the call to reduce human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by taking part in the #spekboomchallenge
‘As a profession that prides itself on being a critical player in creating value, the accountancy profession in South Africa has always contributed its time, and other resources, to projects focused on making South Africa and the world better. Indeed, its stated purpose of “responsible leadership” acts as a continuous challenge for SAICA and its members to understand that their work has an impact that extends beyond business. Indeed, while many of our interventions were in place long before the world’s adoption of United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, the profession’s work has since amplified and expanded to ensure that it is playing its part when it comes to meeting the objectives set out in all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’ explains Div Lamprecht, SAICA Regional Executive: Central Region.
SDG 13 specifically relates to solutions that tackle climate change and its impact. And that is where SAICA’s Central Region Office hopes its call for members to take part in the #spekboomchallenge will play a contributing role.
Why do accountants care about climate action?
Says Lamprecht, ‘Like many other developing countries, South Africa is especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change. We all have a responsibility to use environmental resources sustainably to respond to climate change. The spekboom is a great way to do just that.’
Dubbed an ‘environmental miracle worker’, the spekboom has the potential to tackle carbon emissions like no other plant can. According to the Spekboom Foundation, one hectare of spekboom is ten times more effective at processing carbon dioxide than one hectare of the Amazon forest. And, being indigenous to South Africa as well as a succulent, it is easy to propagate in South Africa, too. Simply snip off a branch from an existing plant, remove the bottom leaves to create a stalk, and you’re ready to plant your very own wonder plant, he says.
Adds Jana Lamprecht (CA(SA)), senior auditing lecturer at the University of the Free State who challenged SAICA to participate when she handed out a spekboom cutting to each of the third-year and honours students on the institution’s CA-stream programmes: ‘We are delighted that SAICA has heeded the call and accepted our challenge. With such a wide carbon footprint, estimates reveal that every South African should plant 240 spekbome in order to mitigate their carbon footprint and help to make a substantial and sustained reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions.’
If you want to join in on this sustainable movement to make our world a better place, share a picture of your newly planted spekboom on social media, tag @saicaza if you are on Instagram, @saica_ca_sa if you are using Twitter, or @OfficialSAICA or if you are on Facebook, and use the hashtag #Spekboomchallenge so SAICA can see how members get involved. The institute will publish this information as part of its 2020 Sustainable Development Goals report later this year.
Spekboom is indigenous to the summer rainfall region of South Africa. Planting nursery stock or even wild strains in the veld and othes natural ecosystems outside of your garden could cause genetic erosion. Please plant responsibly.
For more about why SAICA is getting involved in SDG 13, watch Div Lamprecht’s call to action video below.