19 April 2023

Absa is proud to announce its support of The Gathering: Earth Edition, Daily Maverick’s first sustainability and climate-crisis-focused conference, and the extension of its sponsorship of Our Burning Planet, Daily Maverick’s climate-change and environmental journalism unit.

The conference, scheduled to take place in Cape Town on 26 May 2023, will bring together some of the world’s leading scientists, economists, business leaders, policymakers, and activists to discuss solutions to the energy, environmental and economic challenges facing South Africa.

Absa is committed to being an active force for good in everything that it does. As part of this commitment, the Group has been supporting Our Burning Planet's work since 2021, recognising the vital role of independent, high-quality journalism in creating an informed and passionate citizenry. Absa is pleased to announce that it will be extending the support to Our Burning Planet until 2025, as the Group believes that a well-informed public is essential to finding solutions to the climate-change crisis.

Punki Modise, Absa Group Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, said: “We are proud of this collaboration, which will put issues of climate change and sustainability at the top of our national agenda. At Absa, it gives us great pleasure to be able to support the work of Daily Maverick, which has built a well-deserved reputation for journalism that lives up to high standards of accuracy, integrity, and independence. A free press stimulates debate and contributes to creating sustainable and value-creating solutions to some of Africa’s greatest environmental, social, and economic challenges. It has been gratifying to watch the growth of Our Burning Planet, and how it has enlivened and enriched national conversations around governance, accountability, and our mutual responsibility in the face of the climate crisis.”

She further noted that Absa’s support for the conference was rooted in the group’s organisational purpose. “As a purpose-led organisation, we believe that we have a critical role to play in creating a better world. Our partnership with Daily Maverick aligns with our strategic goal of positively contributing to a sustainable future for all. Our redefined purpose statement, 'Empowering Africa’s tomorrow, together, one story at a time', reflects our commitment to work collaboratively towards achieving this goal. We are confident that by working together, we can create a better future not only for Africa, but also for the world.”

Jillian Green, Daily Maverick’s Deputy Editor and Editor of Our Burning Planet, said: “The climate crisis is the greatest challenge humanity faces. Thanks to Absa’s support, we’ve been able to build a team who are passionate, knowledgeable, and who can see very clearly what is at stake – nothing less than our future on this planet. This team has been given the resources and freedom to focus on uncovering and investigating stories at the confluence of our environment and governance, and at the same time mentor and guide an up-and-coming cohort of talented young journalists.”

The support of this conference is in line with Absa’s long-term commitment to support environmental sustainability. The Group, which is Africa’s largest funder of renewables, recently announced its long-term ambition to reach Net Zero state by 2050 for scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, which comprise both operational and financed emissions.

Supporting a transition to a low-carbon economy is underpinned by Absa’s ambition to be an active force for good, prioritising business activities that have the most positive environmental, social, and economic impact while mitigating negative impacts. Absa is a founding signatory to the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s Principles for Responsible Banking, as well as a signatory to the UN Global Compact. 

Absa’s support for Our Burning Planet is aligned not only with its commitment to environmental stewardship but also with its broader support of independent journalism. Absa sponsors the annual Wits University’s African Investigative Journalism Conference, partners and provides training on finance and auditing to the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism and supports the South African National Editors Forum in its efforts to promote media freedom.

Since its formation, Our Burning Planet has broken and reported on stories including corruption at Eskom, the land claims scandal in Mpumalanga, and the battle to exploit Antarctic resources in contravention of international treaties, amongst many others. 

Daily Maverick’s The Gathering: Earth Edition will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 26 May 2023. Local and international speakers include Himanshu Gupta - CEO and Co-Founder ClimateAI, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman - founder and chair of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Geordin Hill-Lewis – Mayor of Cape Town, Otsile Nkadimeng – climate change activist, Tendai Biti – vice president of Citizens Convergence for Change (CCC), Raeesah Noor Mohamed – climate change activist, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi – Vice Chancellor and Principal at the University of Johannesburg, Maanda Alidzulwi – Environmental Management Inspector at Mpumalanga Environmental Affairs, Rehana Rossouw – land fraud investigator and author, Kate Handley – Executive Director Biodiversity Law Centre and Iraj Abedian – Chief Executive Pan-African Capital Holdings.

Tickets for The Gathering, Earth Edition can be purchased here, or register for free to participate in the virtual event.