Implemented in 2011, the 49M initiative aims to mobilise all South Africans to take proactive step to reduce their electricity consumption through the adoption of energy efficiency practices. The initiative specifically aims to increase awareness amongst citizens, both individual and corporate, regarding the importance of energy efficiency, and secondly to provide advice and guidance around the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

The 49M Business Energy Rating Index is aimed specifically at 49m corporate, industrial, retail and other partners. The aim is to develop a comparative energy efficiency ratings system for the South African business sector. In order to achieve this, the project will analyse the electricity consumption of South African companies in terms of various parameters, the first of which being the ‘usable space’ occupied by the company in its buildings and operations. This will provide an indication of the company’s relative energy efficiency, expressed as a function of electricity consumption per square metre of usable space.

The rationale for the Index is based in the premise that knowledge and transparency about relative energy consumption is likely to influence accountability and energy efficiency.

A further possible variable to be considered for future iterations of the Index is the number of employees in operations. The addition of this information may add to the comparability of organisations that are similar in their deployment of human resources.

In its initial stages, 49M will attempt to apply the Energy Rating Index to South Africa’s JSE Listed companies and will look to source information that is available in the public domain, supplemented with information sourced in telephonic and email surveys.

The initial emphasis of the project will be on the JSE Top 100 companies (by market capitalisation), as well as on other companies that volunteer to be part of the project.

In this regard, the aim of the project is to provide these companies (and the South African public) with an online Index that lists companies and their respective energy efficiency ratings, expressed in terms of electricity consumption per square metre of usable space per year.


The project will be implemented in two distinct phases. The first involves the development and publication of a web-based database displaying the Energy Rating of various South African companies. Companies will be afforded the opportunity to provide inputs to 49M regarding their ranking and the manner in which it was calculated. The input may appear as notes to the company’s database entry.


Phase one of the project further involves the development of a set of Energy Efficiency guidelines for the implementation of energy efficiency measures. These guidelines will identify specific interventions that can be implemented by the companies included on the database to improve their ranking and by implication improve their energy efficiency relative to their peers.

These guidelines will be supported by a series of sector supplements aimed at providing further advice and support to companies in specific sectors regarding measures that they can implement to improve their energy efficiency and database rankings. The specific industry sectors for which these supplements will be developed will be decided based on a number of factors, such as the economic structure of South Africa and the profile and energy efficiency rankings of the companies included on the database.


In Phase 2 the emphasis will shift from the measurement of energy efficiency and recommendations regarding the technological and infrastructure interventions that can be implemented by participating companies, to a focus on behaviour change within companies in the area of energy use and energy efficiency.

A key element of this phase will be the proposed development of a behaviour component to the Index. This component will identify and rank in order of impact, a number of behavioural changes within companies that can positively influence their energy efficiency ranking. The index will, through engagement with the companies included in the database, determine their relative level of implementation of these behaviour changes.


  • To increase the awareness and implementation of energy efficiency measures amongst
    leading South African institutions
  • To increase the levels of accountability within these institutions regarding the
    issue of energy efficiency

A secondary objective of the project is to act as a driver of change and to promote energy efficient behaviour at both institutional and individual level.


In Phase 1 of the project, the goal will be to firstly encourage participation on the part of South African companies in the analysis of their energy efficiency performance, as described in the database. The second goal will be to encourage these companies to download and implement the energy efficiency guidelines and where relevant, the sector supplements.


In Phase 2, the goal will similarly be to encourage companies to participate in the behaviour change index, and to provide information regarding the successful implementation of behaviour change initiatives.