More tax benefits 'will boost green investment'
Manama, June 6, 2010
54 per cent of Bahrain companies feel that more tax breaks are required to accelerate green investment, according to a new global survey by workspace solutions provider Regus.
The Regus survey revealed that only 37 per cent of companies worldwide actually measure their emissions and less than a fifth of companies (19 per cent) measure the carbon footprint left by their activities.
46 per cent of companies globally declare that they will only invest in low-carbon equipment if the running costs are the same or lower than those of conventional equipment. A disappointing 40 per cent have invested in low-carbon equipment and only 38 per cent have a company policy to do so.
In Bahrain specifically, the survey found that 15 per cent monitor their carbon footprint and a full 62 per cent had no company policy to invest in energy efficient equipment. Running costs were found to be very important to 54 per cent of companies who declared that they would only invest in low carbon equipment if it were cheaper or the same to run as conventional equipment. Finally 54 per cent of companies declared that if government offered tax incentives to invest in energy efficient or low-carbon equipment businesses would significantly accelerate their green investments.
Globally, small companies are below average on their actual and predicted level of green investment, indicating that smaller businesses are harder pressed to select low-carbon equipment when this comes at marginally higher price, as short-term needs are more urgent than long-term investment. Only 19 per cent of small companies monitor their carbon foot print compared to 43 per cent of large businesses. Similarly only 36 per cent of small businesses had invested in green equipment compared to 59 per cent of large businesses. Ambitious government targets are evidently not taking into account the reality of green equipment take up among smaller businesses.
The survey also analysed sector differences. 43 per cent of companies in the ICT sector, recently uncovered to produce the same amount of emissions globally as the airline industry, measure their carbon foot print. 53 per cent of companies in this sector had invested in green technology and 57 per cent had a policy to do so. By contrast only 25 per cent of companies in the consultancy sector monitor their carbon foot print, but 71 per cent declared that the majority of their equipment was energy efficient.
“Take-up of green equipment and monitoring initiatives is still disappointingly low, particularly for smaller companies. Yet small and medium-sized companies generate half of any country’s business revenues. If government is serious about meeting ambitious carbon emission reduction targets by mid-century, then it needs to properly incentivise the change. At the moment, low-carbon business technology is often limited in range and sold at premium pricing. This is proving an obstacle for businesses to invest. Tax breaks will help enormously, as our survey shows, and by accelerating take-up will also help to create a mass market where unit prices fall,” stated Joanne Bushell, regional VP for Regus Africa and Middle East.
“Environmental investments are not limited to technology alone, but need to be applicable to all effective and measurable environmental initiatives, such as the minimisation of premises under-occupancy. Conservative estimates hold that 38 per cent of office space is unoccupied at any given time, yet that space is still being heated, cooled and lit, generating tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions each year. Reducing office under-occupancy should therefore be just as eligible for tax breaks as low-energy equipment.”-TradeArabia News Service