Getting corporate South Africa to move on the climate crisis is a bit like persuading teenagers to study ahead of exam time -- excruciating.
It could be argued that the past week saw climate activists suffer a stunning defeat at the hands of two of South Africa's biggest companies -- Sasol and FirstRand Ltd.
Sasol, the country's foulest emitter of greenhouse gases after Eskom, flatly refused to table any resolutions on the climate crisis, denying its shareholders the opportunity to vote on a globally significant issue at its AGM held in late November 2019.
This was despite that the resolutions were backed by some of South Africa's biggest investors -- Old Mutual Investment, Sanlam Investment Managers, Abax Investments, Coronation Fund Managers, Aeon Investment Management and Mergence Investment Managers -- according to shareholder activist group Just Share.
FirstRand allowed the tabling of two resolutions -- one was endorsed by the board and one was not.
Ordinary resolution number six, which requires the bank to adopt and disclose a policy on fossil fuel lending by end October 2020, was wholeheartedly endorsed by 99.9% of shareholders.
However ordinary resolution number five, which was not supported by the board, would have required the bank...