Climate change is a pressing global issue. South Africa is within the top twenty largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world and a signatory to the UNFCCC CoP21 agreements in Paris, December 2015. This means that South Africa must ensure that they reduce their emissions in line with the commitments made to limit the increase in global average temperatures below 1.50C above pre-industrial levels.

One of the measures that has been put into place is a tax on greenhouse gas emissions by placing a price on emissions with the intention of encouraging cleaner practices and to give effect to the “polluter pays principle”.

The South African Carbon Tax Act (Act no. 15 of 2019) has been effective since 1 June 2019. A taxpayer is liable for the carbon tax if they exceed one of the thresholds listed in Schedule 2 of the Act. Combustion emissions, process emissions, and fugitive emissions could potentially incur a tax depending on the applicable threshold. As an example, the threshold for combustion activities is 10MW installed thermal input. This means that if a business has a combustion device(s) that exceeds the threshold in terms of combined capacity, it may be liable to pay tax.

Diesel and petrol for road transportation are taxed separately in the form of a fuel levy system that was implemented from 5 June 2019.

You may be in a situation where you exceed a threshold and be subject to paying tax, but you will only pay on your actual emissions. It is therefore very important to measure and understand your carbon emissions which will allow you to put measures in place to reduce your emissions. Although agriculture as such is in not included in the first phase of the implementation of the Carbon Tax Act (June 2019 – Dec. 2021), it is critically important for producers to measure their emissions and to develop a detailed understanding of the activities that contribute most to their overall carbon emissions. This will provide them with a competitive advantage to reduce their overall carbon emissions.

This is where the Confronting Climate Change (CCC) Initiative with its online carbon calculator can play an important role. It is a tool developed by the South African Fruit and Wine Industry that can assist you with your journey to lower your carbon emissions. The CCC Initiative is project managed by Blue North Sustainability. The CCC carbon emissions calculator has been developed in line with the PAS 2050-1: 2012 for horticulture and has been reviewed by the Carbon Trust. Please visit for more information or email Anél Blignaut at

By Anél Blignaut