Enterprising South African companies are harnessing the power of the internet of things (IoT) and information communications technologies (ICT) to significantly improve the measurement and management of their carbon (CO2) emissions.

More have followed suit since the introduction of the first phase of the Carbon Tax in June 2019. This phase will run through to December 2022 to provide most heavy emitters of CO2 with an opportunity to adequately prepare for the introduction of the subsequent phase of the programme. The second phase will entail imposing a higher penalty on companies for emitting harmful carbon from industrial processes and through the combustion of fossil fuels.

The initial headline rate is R120 per tonne of CO2 or its equivalent, namely methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Businesses can realistically expect to pay between R6 and R48 per tonne of carbon dioxide, as well as other harmful gases that they emit into the atmosphere during this initial phase.

While the tax is a commendable initiative that is in line with best international practice, there are many facets of the legislation that require clarity. Nico Bezuidenhout, business development manager of First Technology Group, says that this has made it almost impossible for companies to precisely quantify the costs of their carbon footprints.

“There is a dearth of accurate and reliable emissions data and the limited information that is available is seldom shared between organisations. Forward-thinking companies have been well aware of this risk since the Carbon Tax policy paper was published in 2013. Much of their focus since then has, therefore, been on finding effective ways of collating accurate data they need to measure emissions for mitigation planning. Following closely in the footsteps of their international counterparts, many South African companies also want this information in real-time to better inform their decision-making,” Bezuidenhout says.

This leading supplier of sophisticated IoT, Hosted Cloud-based technologies, as well as hardware and software solutions has been fielding an increasing number of enquiries from local companies as to how it is able to help them develop a robust solution to manage this risk.

The company’s IoT solution comprises smart sensors that are equipped with transmitters that can be installed in most industrial processes, such as mineral-beneficiation plants and factories, to automatically detect CO2 molecules.

This information is then transmitted to a central country-managed repository where it is accurately recorded and corroborated using First Technology Group’s Blockchain technology. Meanwhile, the company’s Hosted Cloud-based solutions enable the efficient processing, analysis and visualisation of the wealth of information to better inform decision making.