Eskom: Realizing a comprehensive assessment of our economic, social and environmental impacts

Eskom is a vertically integrated electricity utility in South Africa. We have a significant footprint in the country and an impact on society.

In 2011, we completed a study called the Eskom factor. Based on WBCSD’s “Measuring Impact” methodology, our focus was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our economic, social and environmental impacts -  both positive and negative.

Now in the second edition of the Eskom Factor, we intend to broaden our understanding and develop suitable leading key performance indicators (KPIs) in addition to our existing KPIs. We use the Natural Capital Protocol framework to help inform potential KPIs to measure natural capital, with which we seek to influence Eskom’s strategy development process.

While the scope of the assessment goes beyond natural capital, we recognize that the Protocol provides a sound framework to help evaluate and prioritize the most relevant natural capital impacts and dependencies and their related forms of measurement and valuation. 

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • Yes
Impact drivers assessed
  • Fresh water ecosystem use e.g. wetlands, ponds, rivers
  • GHG emissions e.g. volume of CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs and PFCs etc.
  • Impact on biodiversity e.g. impact on species, ecosystems, habitats or genetic diversity
  • Non-GHG air pollutants e.g. PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, NO, NO2, SO2, CO, etc.
  • Soil pollutants e.g. volume of waste matter discharges and retained in soil over a given period
  • Solid waste e.g. volume of waste by classification, materials constituents or disposal method
  • Water pollutants e.g. volume discharged to receiving water body
  • Water use e.g. volume of ground- or surface water consumed
Organizational Focus
  • Corporate
  • Project
  • Product
Valuation Type
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Monetary
  • Value to business
Geographical Scope
  • South Africa
Dependencies assessed
  • Biodiversity
  • Energy e.g. solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuel, fossil fuel
  • Regulation of physical environment e.g. flood attenuation, water quality regulation
  • Regulation of waste and emissions e.g. waste assimilation, noise and dust regulation
  • Water e.g. fresh or sea water
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
  • Upstream
  • Downstream
Sectors
  • Utilities and Power

Key findings

The project is currently underway with the expected results to be finalized by December 2017.

Through our past Eskom Factor Report, we were able to identify key impacts areas, create an understanding of these impacts and accurately measure them. The results highlighted areas that needed further improvement.

Two major lessons learned from the previous factor were that, in order to effectively communicate the impact results with both internal and external stakeholders, a communication plan was needed.

Secondly, for Eskom to further improve its sustainability performance, leading Key Performance Indicators (KPI) were important. Therefore as a way of improvement, the current Eskom Factor project will deliver a comprehensive report and a communication plan and Leading KPIs.

More information