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South Africa’s total energy capacity of 54.6 GW (excluding imports) should theoretically be sufficient for energy security and spare generating capacity, but it is not - as evidenced by record-level load shedding in 2022 and 2023. This was highlighted in the recently released Africa Energy Review 2023 report by PwC, which noted that the country is trying to remedy the situation by transitioning away from coal-generated power to renewables and gas – and even (to many experts’ dismay) nuclear.
A difficult period for the performance of some thematic funds has given fuel to the naysayers’ arguments. But we believe thematic investing with an active approach is a powerful tool for investors now and in the years to come. Thematic investing has taken off in recent years. Global thematic assets under management stood at $400 billion as of 1 July 2023, up 11% from the end of last year (according to data from Goldman Sachs).
In the past few years, we’ve seen the increase of wind and solar power generation as a cost-effective substitute for fossil fuels. Solar power is notorious as a go-to option and the fastest-growing energy source, playing a critical role to achieving a sustainable carbon free future. However, with renewable energy not available twenty-four hours a day, the need for balanced and flexible power generation is becoming rapidly apparent.
The global discourse's broad-brush strokes must make room for the local reality's fine detail.
Let's have a look at the impact of "deglobalisation" on some of our favoured themes: smart manufacturing, energy transition and climate change, and the circular economy.
At first, the response to government’s power moves, announced at last month’s Budget Speech, was overwhelmingly positive. Energy packages, which offered tax incentives for households and businesses to offset the steep financial toll of load shedding, were introduced.
At the end of last year, the world’s leading 40 mining companies had a combined revenue of approximately $925 billion. In fact, the net profits of these organisations grew by 127% on the back of high commodity prices and prudent cost management.
Sustainable societies assume natural resources are finite and aim to practice environmental protection that promotes balance between humans and nature. Adapting sustainability measures can save money in addition to environmental impacts.
Significant uncertainty, marked by rampant inflation, fears of a looming recession and growing geopolitical risk, clouds the near-term global outlook. The knee-jerk reaction is to retreat to safe assets and preserve capital until the storm has blown over.
Miners are stepping up to take a more prominent role in the energy transition. According to the United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Strategy CEO study, about 72% of mining and metals CEOs agree that sustainability issues, including decarbonisation, are 'very important' or 'important' to the future success of their businesses (compared to just 54% across all industries).
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