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Annual budget: What can we expect of Carbon Tax in 2020?

It is not a simple matter to implement the Carbon Tax policy, as was expected after opposition delayed its passing for more than a decade.

The urgency to introduce a Carbon Tax and so encourage South Africa to transition to an economy in tune with the reality of global warming remains. Eskom accounts for more than 30% of South Africa’s carbon emissions, and yet there is no real alternative electricity source.


In the years preceding the introduction of the Carbon Tax in 2019 companies have been able to consider how they are being affected. “The tax means that avoiding being directly, or indirectly, responsible for carbon emissions is no longer a voluntary measure but now a matter of compliance,” notes Kevin James GCX CEO and Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) board member.


“For the first time companies are in a position to understand their exposure. Previously all you could work out what allowances you’d be eligible for. Until 2023 there are a plethora of allowances so no one is discouraged from emitting carbon. However now companies are using the time to improve the quality of their data and complete the submissions related to the national greenhouse gas emissions reporting. This shows companies their tax liability.”


“Currently the Carbon Tax is in a beta phase, it’s forgiving and lax. In 2023 treasury will start a more assertive campaign for companies to do better. Despite the carbon tax being set at R120 per ton from 2019 until 2023, James notes that the real cost of carbon is now closer to R1500 or R1800 per ton. During the 2020 Budget Speech, the government will be under pressure to answer whether or not Eskom will be subject to the same Carbon Tax requirements as those who use its dirty coal-powered electricity.


The pressure to maintain the status quo is considerable due to the perceived changes and costs a new tax will bring. However the price of inaction is expected to be far more severe.


“Embedded carbon is not only a moral issue – but on the commercial side there is no question that the carbon-intensity of our products will make them less appealing for major international markets. South Africa can’t have a carbon tax and continue to be as intensive as we are with fossil fuels,” James notes. The expertise to guide South Africa to affordable and sustainable energy production at the required scale is available.


Net Zero Carbon buildings are not subject to Carbon Tax because the electricity they use has no carbon footprint. Start a conversation today with the GBCSA on how a Net Zero certification will benefit your building: [email protected].

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

Organisational categories

As an organisational member, you will fall into one of the below categories, and be charged according to specific size indicators. Please reach out to us for any further clarity on which category is best for your organisation

Property Developers

Annual Turnover

Investors, Owners, Property Managers

Total Asset Value

Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

Annual Gross Rentals

Building Contractors

Annual Turnover

Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

Annual Turnover

Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

Number of employees

Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

Annual Turnover


Local/ municipal/ provincial/ state 
Contact GBCSA to confirm your category