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Carbon footprint calculator debuts

Carbon footprint calculator debuts

Jun 1, 2013

Government’s announcement that companies will begin paying carbon tax from 1 January 2015 proves a daunting challenge for businesses who wish to calculate their carbon emissions. 

In addition, companies emitting more than 0,1% of the total emissions of their industry sector will be required to submit mitigation plans detailing how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Businesses will also need to ascertain four factors in addition to determining their carbon footprint: the quantity of emissions generated; their industry sector total; the company’s own baseline from where emissions must be reduced; and how actual emissions will be reduced, says Robbie Louw, a director of Promethium Carbon, a carbon advisory firm.

“Large organisations tend to have dedicated departments that have the resources to do these calculations internally. But small and medium-sized businesses are expressing concern about not even knowing where to start,” says Louw.

In line with this, Promethium Carbon has introduced a carbon tax tool, available free of charge on the Web, that calculates carbon footprint. It takes into account the current tax legislation and will incorporate changes as they occur.

The Carbon Tax Policy Paper proposed that the tax rate will be R120 per tonne of CO2. The rate will increase at 10% a year during the first phase of implementation.

Between 2015 and 2020 a basic tax-free threshold of 60% is being proposed as well as offset amounts of 5% to 20% dependent on the industry. A business emitting 100 000 tonnes of carbon annually will therefore pay tax on 40 000 tonnes, the first 60% being non-taxable.

Louw says the tax calculations can become quite complex. The tax tool aims to assist in these calculations as simply and easily as possible.

“Organisations should start getting an indication of their potential tax liability. It will be important to begin evaluating these figures now in order to prepare for 2015,” he says.

The carbon tax tool can be accessed at



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