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Canada Tax: Canadian Business Demands More Tax Breaks for Green Investment

A new global survey by workspace solutions provider Regus, has found that 68% of Canadian companies have declared that government tax breaks are required to accelerate adoption of green investment.

The Regus survey 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. 46% of companies globally declare that they will only invest in low-carbon equipment if the operating costs are the same or lower than those of conventional equipment. A disappointing 40% have invested in low-carbon equipment to-date and only 38% have a company policy to do so.

In Canada specifically, the survey found that only 9% of companies monitor their carbon footprint, the lowest percentage globally. Less than a quarter (24%) of businesses had a corporate policy to invest in energy efficient equipment. Operating costs were found to be important to 32% of companies, that declared they would only invest in low-carbon equipment if it were cheaper or the same to run as conventional equipment. Finally 68% of companies stated that if the government offered tax incentives to invest in energy efficient or low-carbon equipment, businesses would significantly accelerate their green investments.

Small companies globally are below average on their actual level of green investment, indicating that smaller businesses are harder pressed to select low-carbon equipment when it comes at marginally higher price, as short-term needs are more urgent than long-term investments. In Canada only 8% of small and medium businesses monitor their carbon footprint compared to 23% of large businesses. Similarly only 38% of small businesses had invested in low carbon equipment compared to 69% of large businesses.

The survey also analyzed sector differences. Only 10% of companies in the consultancy services sector measure their carbon footprint, although 38% have invested in low-carbon technology. Although 52% of consulting companies declare that the majority of equipment they use is energy efficient, only 21% have a policy to purchase low-carbon technology. Similarly 60% of companies in the manufacturing sector declare that the majority of the equipment they use is low-carbon emitting, however only 20% have a policy to purchase this type of equipment. These findings can perhaps be read as an indication that costly green equipment has already been adopted more in Canada than the rest of the globe and only the commoditization of low carbon equipment as well as tax incentives could accelerate the rate of green investment.

Wes Lenci, Regional Vice President, Regus Canada, comments:

"Adoption of green equipment and monitoring initiatives is still disappointingly low, particularly for smaller companies. Yet small and medium-sized companies account for half of any country's business makeup With reports indicating that as a result of the Harper government failing to keep pace with renewable energy investments made by the Obama administration, Canada is losing out on approximately 66,000 jobs. If the government is serious about meeting ambitious carbon emission reduction targets by mid-century, then it needs to further incentivize 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 implementation, will also help to create a mass market where unit prices fall."

"Environmental investments are not limited to technology alone, but need to be applicable to all effective and measurable environmental initiatives, such as the minimization of premises under-occupancy. Conservative estimates hold that 38% of office space is unoccupied at any given time, yet that space is still being heated, cooled and lit, generating tons of unnecessary carbon emissions each year. Reducing office under-occupancy should therefore be just as eligible for tax breaks as low-energy equipment."
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