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Carbon Charges not enough to protect Climate


Carbon Charges not enough to protect Climate

The introduction of the proposed carbon charge is only a small step in the right direction. The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) says that much more needs to be done to truly protect our climate. SBN-members, including large companies such as IAG Insurance, Honda, Fletchers and Fisher & Paykel, suggest a multi-pronged approach. Rachel Brown, CEO of SBN, suspects for small and medium sized enterprises the carbon tax will simply be merged into existing businesses cost.

“Government needs to provide more financial mechanisms to promote climate friendly activities”, says Rachel Brown. “We also need to have a more comprehensive approach. Besides government support, businesses with an interest in sustainability need support from the community as well as from networks like the SBN.”

Government needs to look at additional financial incentives along with its own purchasing power to really influence business activity.

“There needs to be a total review of the tax system to promote climate friendly technologies”, says Rachel Brown. Singapore for example has tax incentives for energy efficient vehicles and the United States introduced a $2,000 rebate for those who buy hybrid vehicles.

Sarah Burke, SBN Project Manager for GreenFleet states that “Energy efficient cars such as the Honda Jazz and Daihatsu Charade are available and affordable and should be part of any green fleet along with the new Hybrid vehicles but more needs to be done to encourage the market to buy them”.

Honda NZ has been suggesting financial mechanisms including weighted costings with registrations of vehicles based on fuel efficiency ratings be used to move the market.

Chris Morrison, MD of Phoenix Organics and chair of the Sustainable Business Network, would like to see mandatory emissions testing of vehicles as part of a warrant of fitness to force people into driving cleaner, less polluting cars. Steve Pollard, MD of Clean Green Car Company “finds it hard to believe that New Zealand can’t achieve what virtually every other country in the developed world has done and have an emissions testing regime on its vehicle fleet.”

Business would also like to see alternative fuels commercially available in New Zealand. The most promising alternative fuel here is Biodiesel, however at this point in time we do not have any commercially available options. Ecostore chief executive Malcolm Rands says: “I’ve been using biodiesel for the past four years when it is available. I am completely happy with the performance and price but only really committed people could source this. It needs to be commercially available.”

Other countries have used mechanisms to support the introduction of biodiesel. Brazil has enacted a law making biodiesel B2 and B5 mandatory by 2008 and 2013. New York introduced a $0.20 per gallon tax incentive for NY State Biofuel producers.

A key market driver should be coming from Governments own Purchasing Policy & Practices. Government have been talking about using their purchasing power to influence the market however it is slow to come. SBN-members believe that government procurement is an under-utilised tool for reducing climate change. The police force can be viewed as a huge potential “Greenfleet”, for example driving fuel efficient cars or hybrids.

The community has a vital role to play in helping shape a marketplace supportive of businesses engaged in sustainability

The Sustainable Business Network believes people need insightful information to support them in choosing environmentally and socially responsible products or services. Changing consumption patterns to support the huge range of effective, stylish and affordable, locally made, environment or climate friendly products will drive businesses further.

Clean Green Car Company’s Steve Pollard believes that consumers needn’t worry about the implications of adopting sustainable practices: “It’s not about given up on things its more about changing behaviours and attitudes.” He states that for example in the area of vehicle choices, proven reliable Hybrid technology is available now, both new and used, giving consumers new options in their vehicle purchasing decisions. He says: “Cars such as the Toyota Prius use 50% less fuel, produce 90% less noxious emissions and 50% less CO2 with no compromise in power, space, reliability or safety”.

END

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