COMPANIES around the world are hunting for investments in developing countries to improve their carbon profiles - but South Africa has been slow to cash in.
Fewer than 20 South African projects are registered under the international Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as potential providers of certified carbon off-set credits for the mainly Europe-based companies that are obliged by their governments to meet carbon emission reduction targets.
And only three of those have issued actual certificates, according to Peet du Plooy of the environmental group WWF-SA.
Du Plooy and players in the carbon market said South Africa was lagging behind India and China because of the expense and complexity of getting projects certified as "green" and because of a lack of incentives for renewable energy.
He said revenue from selling carbon credits under the CDM would not by itself guarantee a project's financial viability.
The CDM was set up under the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, aimed at fighting the threat of global warming.
For South African companies achieving carbon neutrality is still voluntary, but this could change after the Copenhagen climate conference next month which is due to debate a new version of the Kyoto Protocol.