Net Zero Economy Index 2022

South African viewpoint


2021 was the year countries around the globe attempted to jump start their economies after being considerably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these efforts, most countries prioritised the use of fossil fuels to form the foundation for restarting their economies.

Globally, the world reduced its carbon intensity by 0.49% in 2021. This was less than the average decline of 1.39% per annum seen over the past 20 years due to the global economy largely returning to near pre-COVID levels of GDP output. South Africa fared better, achieving a reduction in energy intensity of 4.61% but off a low base.

While the task of meeting the agreements signed under the Paris Agreement has grown that much larger, now requiring an annual decarbonisation of 15.2%, the world is in a unique position due to geopolitical disruptions. There is an opportunity to use these disruptions to transition to renewables and decarbonise the global economy at a faster rate than ever.


Solar panels and wind turbines.

Net Zero Economy Index 2022 graph

The climate challenge is not an environmental problem, but fundamentally a challenge that needs to be solved to safeguard and ensure continued economic and social stability and growth. This is vitally important for the South African operating environment to ensure we do not see a continued breakdown in our social cohesion. However, it cannot be solved by the government alone and requires the combined efforts of the public and private sectors.


Contact us

Lullu Krugel

Lullu Krugel

Director | Africa and Southern Africa Sustainability Platform Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 82 708 2330

Shirley Machaba

Shirley Machaba

Regional Senior Partner | PwC South Africa CEO, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 5851

Matt Muller

Matt Muller

Senior Manager | Strategy& Purpose-led Growth Climate Change Champion, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 78 326 0627

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