Businesses want more tax breaks for green investments

KUALA LUMPUR: A global survey has found that 89% of companies in Malaysia believe that government tax breaks are required to accelerate green investment take up.

Also, finger-pointing from mature economies at their emerging-market counterparts appears unjustified because more companies in Malaysia, India and China monitor their carbon footprint than in Western Europe and the United States.

The survey, by workspace solutions provider Regus plc, found that small companies worldwide are below average on their actual and predicted level of green investment.

This indicates that smaller businesses are harder pressed to select low-carbon equipment when these come at a marginally higher price, because short-term needs are more urgent than long-term investment.

Only 19% of small companies monitor their carbon footprint compared to 43% of large businesses. Similarly only 36% of small businesses have invested in green equipment, compared to 59% of large businesses.

Ambitious government targets, the survey concluded, are evidently not taking into account the reality of green equipment take up among smaller businesses.

“Take-up of green equipment and monitoring initiatives is still disappointingly low, particularly for smaller companies. Yet small and medium companies generate half of any country’s business revenues,” said William Willems, regional vice-president of Regus South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

“If any 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, and by accelerating take-up will also help to create a mass market where unit prices fall,” he said.

An overwhelming 89% 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.

The survey also revealed that only 37% of companies worldwide actually measure their emissions and less than a fifth of companies (19%) measure the carbon footprint left by their activities.

Forty-six percent of companies in the world declared 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% have invested in low-carbon equipment and only 38% have a company policy to do so, the survey found.

In Malaysia specifically, the survey found that monitoring of energy efficiency and carbon footprint are much more widespread than elsewhere in the world.


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