In 2021, Remgro created a Board Committee charged with the strategic oversight of ESG and sustainability matters, including climate change. This Strategic ESG Committee is supported by an Executive Operational ESG Committee, with representatives from multiple functions within the organisation, which is driving the pursuit of Remgro’s ambition to position itself within the South African context as leaders in ESG and sustainability. The Operational ESG Committee has been supported by a team of external expert advisers to navigate this journey.
The terms of reference for the Operational ESG Committee include the integration of ESG and climate-related issues into the strategy, monitoring progress and assessing performance. It recommends ESG-linked targets to the Remuneration and Nomination Committee and other performance objectives and ambitions for its own operations.
In addition to the Strategic and Operational ESG Committees, Remgro Group has a Social and Ethics Committee, an Investment Committee and an Audit and Risk Committee who oversee various aspects of the ESG agenda, and with which the Strategic and Operational Committees work closely to ensure strategy, action and any disclosures are properly aligned.
During the financial year June 2023, significant progress was made in giving effect to Remgro’s ambitions, including the adoption of an ESG Investment Policy and an ESG Investment Framework. This incorporates ESG due diligence into the investment process and decision-making and builds on Remgro’s long-standing ethical framework. The policy and framework will be used in considering all new investments and is also used for the review of existing holdings.
Managements’ capacity to address ESG challenges has been increased through the appointment of a full-time ESG and sustainability manager.
As an investment holding company, Remgro’s approach has been to increase awareness of ESG and associated climate-related risks and opportunities amongst Remgro’s Investments Portfolio Managers and its representatives on the boards of the companies in which Remgro invests (also called the investee companies). This has been undertaken through workshops and directed enquiries to subsidiary companies and those in which Remgro is a significant shareholder, as well as the work it undertakes within its own operations. In order to deliver on Remgro’s ambition and related strategies it is critical to use ongoing engagement on climate change, to facilitate understanding and share best practice amongst this group.
Climate change scenarios will be developed to use in evaluating the impact and strategic resilience within Remgro’s operations and investment portfolio. These will be built on international practice taking into consideration Remgro’s specific portfolio, the industries, their locations and unique vulnerabilities.
Work to date has been focused on working with companies in which Remgro is materially invested to assess their existing climate-related awareness, risk mitigation, measurement and targets where they exist. This will be an ongoing area of work to determine where group-wide targets are feasible, given the spread of sectors in which investments have been made and how to collaborate to develop a more consistently robust approach.
An ESG Collaboration Forum has been created to increase shared learning, focusing on good practice, mutual capacity building for management and ideas exchange of the ESG and climate change agendas and opportunities with the intention of creating and protecting value. The forum will engage both ESG and sustainability professionals and decision-makers within the investment portfolio, as well as Remgro’s own operational structure.
Remgro has taken strategic steps to increase access to renewable energy through the creation of an energy trading company, Energy Exchange of Southern Africa, which received its trading licence in 2022 and by establishing Kigeni Ventures, a Section 12J Venture Capital Company in 2017. The 2014 greening of its head office campus was an early signal of its intent to put good ESG practice at the core of its operations. Please refer to “Energy efficiency initiatives” and ”Energy services and markets” sections of this report.
Work has been undertaken during the past financial year to further develop and expand the Remgro risk register to specifically address key ESG risks – those that are currently known and those that will emerge from the scenario exercise which will be undertaken during the financial year ending June 2024. The current risk methodology uses and expands on the widely used PESTLE framework. While this framework will focus primarily on risks which impact Remgro, it will be informed by the material risks identified by investee companies, particularly those risks which appear to be common across the portfolio.
To build the specific inclusion of climate-related risks into its decision-making, Remgro has committed to using a framework that specifically triggers assessment of physical, transitional and liability risk. This will incorporate social impacts of climate change into the assessment and assist in the future calculation of impacts on the strategy and financials alongside an enhanced focus on strategic business opportunities.
Targets and metrics
It is Remgro’s ambition to play a leading role in ESG and sustainability in South Africa and to drive continued focus on specific ESG outcomes in its own operations and its investment portfolio. As an investment holding company, Remgro’s target setting and metrics will take into consideration its own operations, its wholly owned but independently managed subsidiaries and its portfolio of investee companies where it has a strategic shareholding.
Exercising responsible investment stewardship where there is influence, but no control, requires a deliberate and collaborative approach. Remgro has launched several initiatives to further these aims, through capacity building and knowledge sharing, as well as improved disclosures.
Risks and potential impacts
To ensure focused and impactful progress over the next reporting period(s), the primary immediate focus will be on:
- Acknowledging long-term decarbonisation ambitions and setting goals. Remgro supports the Paris Agreement and the need to become carbon neutral and will strive to develop scientifically informed action plans and carbon reduction milestones over the next reporting period.
- An increased focus on governance through (a) full disclosure of its climate change related actions using best practice frameworks (b) embedding the ESG Investment Framework that it developed in the past calendar year throughout the Company and across its investment portfolio (c) strengthening the Remgro and investee companies’ Board capacity on ESG matters and (d) participation in strategic ESG indices in order to benchmark performance and improve disclosure.
- Intensifying the focus on social aspects with specific emphasis on (a) CSI initiatives impacting the communities where Remgro operates (b) developing a Responsible Sourcing Policy for Remgro and identified investee companies (c) combining efforts towards an improved BBBEE level and (d) specific objectives to foster a more diverse and inclusive culture within Remgro.
- Continued focus on improving the measurement and reporting of the nine key ESG focus areas across the identified investee companies. These include climate change and energy management, water management, waste management, diversity and inclusion, social impact, employee relations, health and safety, supply chain and procurement and governance. The assessment focused on policies in place, targets, targets linked to incentives and also measurement and monitoring of relevant KPIs. Over the last two reporting periods we have seen progress and this momentum will be maintained over the next reporting period. Progress was demonstrated in the past year in Remgro’s carbon reporting where the integrity and scope of data reported was increased. The assessment also highlighted gaps in ESG management, which can now be addressed with suitable action plans.
Since 2020, Remgro has included ESG performance conditions in the Long-Term Incentive (LTI) awards to motivate and incentivise executives and management in driving this key strategic initiative. By incorporating specific ESG measures into the LTI, Remgro is demonstrating its public commitment to ESG and sustainability. In 2023, these ESG performance conditions will be revised in the form of a strategic balanced scorecard under the oversight of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee. This will identify and measure specific ESG outcomes to enable the Group to achieve its overall ESG and sustainability ambitions. These ESG measures will be further supported by Remgro-specific strategic performance measures.
As a Group, Remgro has reported its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the CDP since 2010, receiving recognition for its disclosure and inclusion in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. Remgro’s disclosure has historically only included its head office performance and three of its investee companies (RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods and Wispeco).
The three companies’ GHG emissions were reported by Remgro in alignment with its equity shareholding in each. Although these three subsidiaries are either wholly or majority owned, the boards are autonomous and Remgro does not exercise operational control. These emissions are therefore now reported under Remgro’s Scope 3 investments category in accordance with the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) methodology.
PCAF’s mission is to enable financial institutions to assess and disclose GHG emissions associated with financial activities as the starting point for them to manage risk and identify opportunities associated with GHGs to begin the journey towards decarbonisation.
During the financial year ending 2022, Remgro reassessed its approach to carbon reporting. Remgro’s aim is to extend its own environmental reporting beyond those companies in which it maintains majority shareholding to ultimately include as much of its portfolio of investments as possible.
As an initial step, Remgro included its head office, Mediclinic, RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods, Wispeco, Air Products and OUTsurance Group. For the purposes of these reports the emissions are disclosed for the year to end of June 2023. Reporting to CDP lags the normal disclosure and was previously in accordance with the GHG Protocol’s Equity Share approach. Since 2021, Remgro has been reporting in accordance with the Financial Services questionnaire, which was introduced in that year.
Remgro’s 2022 carbon footprint was included in the latest CDP submission (submitted earlier in 2023), which included Remgro head office, Distell, Mediclinic, RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods and Wispeco in its environmental reporting boundary. For the second time, this was calculated according to the PCAF method.
Distell, which was previously included, will be excluded due to Remgro exchanging its interest in Distell for an interest in Heineken Beverages. Remgro’s portion of the carbon footprint of Heineken Beverages will be included in due course.
For the purposes of this report on Remgro’s 2023 carbon footprint, Distell is excluded from the emissions disclosures. OUTsurance Group and Air Products have been included for the first time, alongside Remgro head office, Mediclinic, RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods and Wispeco. To allow for comparability, the 2022 numbers have been restated to reflect these changes. This group represents approximately 59% of Remgro’s intrinsic net asset value (INAV) as of 30 June 2023. For Remgro’s next CDP submission (during 2024), Remgro will submit its 2023 carbon footprint, which will include Air Products and OUTsurance, but exclude Distell.
The change in boundaries for this report and the intended future incorporation of additional investee company data pose some challenges for long-term comparability. Maturity in carbon accounting within the investee companies is varied but improving. Siqalo Foods, Air Products and OUTsurance Group report notable reductions in Scope 1 and Scope 2 data for 2023. However, not all of these numbers have been externally verified. If the numbers change following verification, they will be restated.
As Remgro has identified decarbonisation as a long-term strategic goal and committed to enhancing its scorecard in this regard, it is anticipated that there will be ongoing improvements in the number, quality and verification of disclosures in future reports.
Energy efficiency initiatives
Group Power Initiative
During the 2022 and 2023 financial years, the Group Power Initiative facilitated the installation of seven solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at Wispeco, Distell (now Heineken Beverages) and MMI (Eris Properties). These systems resulted in an aggregated renewable power capacity of 3.3MW, with an associated cumulative CO2 equivalent emissions reduction of 4.4 kilotons.
As part of this initiative, Kigeni Ventures, a Section 12J Venture Capital Company was created to house the investments and assist with the feasibility studies for the solar PV systems. Since 2017, Remgro has facilitated the installation of 34 solar PV systems at Wispeco, Distell (now Heineken Beverages), Mediclinic, RCL Foods,
Old Mutual, Remgro head office and MMI (Eris Properties) through this initiative. These systems resulted in an aggregated renewable power capacity of 21.2MW with an associated cumulative CO2 equivalent emissions reduction of 71.9 kilotons.
Remgro Group GHG emissions data
|Scope 1|| Scope 2
|Scope 3|| Outside
|Scope 1 and 2|
|Remgro head office(1)||1 838||1 508||1 904||2 178||1 728||793||–||–||3 741||3 686|
|RCL Foods(1)||518 158||517 902||504 779||525 766||349 254||358 487||86 530||69 105||1 022 937||1 043 668|
|Siqalo Foods(1)||12 084||22 432||18 809||18 847||2 249||2 236||13 502||8 731||30 893||41 280|
|Wispeco(1)||12 985||12 473||38 686||29 328||17 509||12 711||nr||nr||51 671||41 801|
|Mediclinic(2)||44 562||34 656||160 719||177 313||72 865||65 068||2 711||3 122||205 280||211 969|
|OUTsurance Group(3)||987||1 388||7 493||7 770||6 135||5 255||36||11||8 480||9 158|
|Air Products(4)||43 597||50 919||1 245 037||1 303 071||nr||nr||nr||nr||1 288 634||1 353 990|
|(1)||Carbon footprint data verified FY2022 only. At the time of reporting RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods, Remgro head office and Wispeco had not yet been verified for FY2023, but have undergone some external reassessment.|
|(2)||Carbon footprint data verified FY2022 and FY2023. Mediclinic has a March year-end. The data relates to Mediclinic's 12 months to December 2021 and December 2022.|
|(3)||OUTsurance Group has not been externally verified.|
|(4)||Carbon footprint data verified FY2022 and FY2023. Air Products has a September year-end. The data relates to Air Products' 12 months to September 2021 and September 2022.|
Remgro portion of investee companies’ Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions(1)
| Remgro Scope 1 and 2 GHG|
|EVIC(2) share |
(as per PCAF)
|Remgro head office||3 741||3 686||100%||100%||Jun-23|
|RCL Foods||621 273||653 161||61%||63%||Jun-23|
|Siqalo Foods||30 893||41 280||100%||100%||Jun-23|
|Wispeco||51 096||41 417||99%||99%||Jun-23|
|Mediclinic||69 819||60 049||34%||28%||Dec-22|
|OUTsurance Group||2 527||2 805||30%||31%||Jun-23|
|Air Products||643 071||675 995||50%||50%||Sep-22|
|(1)||Mediclinic and Air Products carbon footprint data has been verified for FY2022 and FY2023. At the time of reporting RCL Foods, Siqalo Foods, Remgro head office and Wispeco had not yet been verified for FY2023, but have undergone some external reassessment. OUTsurance Group has not been externally verified.|
|(2)||EVIC = Enterprise value including cash.|
Green Star building benefits
Remgro’s reconstructed head office complex, Millennia Park, achieved a 5-Star As-Built Green Office rating in 2014. Key factors included reusing 96% of the existing major structure, thereby significantly reducing construction waste and contributing to the sustainability of the building.
Overall ecological value of the site was increased by more than an estimated 400%. Water efficient fixtures, storm water filtering and rehabilitation of rivers beyond the site were all features of this project. The building achieves energy savings in excess of 30% over a notional building of similar size through passive design, efficient lighting and air conditioning.
A rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed in 2020. The building management system tracks performance with cumulative performance to end of June 2023 measured as:
Cumulative performance of solar PV
- R679 477 financial return
- 406 tonnes of CO2e reduction
- 428MW energy production
- 82% energy yield performance
- 76% financial performance
Energy services and markets
Energy Exchange of Southern Africa
Remgro is a strategic shareholder in the Energy Exchange of Southern Africa (Energy Exchange), a National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) licensed green energy trader. It aggregates and facilitates the transfer of energy between independent generators of green electricity and consumer companies. It is a private utility which at its core aims to assist clients in securing green energy from diversified power sources, thereby reducing single technology risk and assisting in their decarbonisation journeys.
Energy Exchange’s business model allows customers to reduce their vulnerability to Eskom’s supply constraints and rotational blackouts to create a measure of price certainty. The model is based on wheeling electricity from the generation site to remote customers via the transmission grid. Power is charged on a kilowatt hour basis (c/kWh). Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are concluded with both generators and customers, with Energy Exchange handling the back-office reconciliation functions using metered data that enables efficient tracking and managing of energy costs.
The benefits of this model for the energy purchaser include continuity of supply, the ability to manage load outages without undertaking capital expenditure or running their own plants, shorter PPA terms than traditional bilateral agreements and savings in energy costs, as well as carbon tax payments where applicable. Energy Exchange undertakes the administration of the transactions and clients receive Renewable Energy Certificates.