Ireland needs more green-investment tax breaks

3 Jun 2010

Seventy-eight per cent of Irish firms want more Government tax breaks to speed up green investment take-up, a Regus survey suggests.

A new global survey by workspace solutions provider Regus has found that 78pc of Irish companies feel that Government tax breaks are required to accelerate green-investment take-up.

In Ireland, specifically, the survey found that:

Future Human

– Only 9pc monitor their carbon footprint

– 67pc had no company policy to invest in energy-efficient equipment.

– Running costs were found to be very important to 43pc of companies who said they would only invest in low-carbon equipment if it were cheaper or the same to run as conventional equipment.

– 78pc of companies declared that if government offered tax incentives to invest in energy-efficient or low-carbon equipment businesses would significantly speed up their green investments.

In global terms. the Regus survey points to how:

– Only 37pc of companies worldwide actually measure their emissions and less than a fifth of companies (19pc) measure the carbon footprint left by their activities.

– 46pc 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.

– Only 40pc of firms have invested in low-carbon equipment and only 38pc have a company policy to do so.

Small firms are more hard-pressed to invest in low-carbon equipment

Globally, the Regus survey also reveals how small companies are below average on their actual and predicted level of green investment, a possible indication that smaller businesses are harder pressed to select low-carbon equipment when this comes at a marginally higher price, as short-term needs are more urgent than long-term investment.

– Only 19pc of small companies monitor their carbon footprint compared to 43pc of large businesses

– Similarly, only 36pc of small businesses had invested in green equipment compared to 59pc of large businesses.

Sector differences between green-investment take-up

ICT sector versus consultancy sector:

– 43pc of companies in the ICT sector measure their carbon footprint.

– 53pc of companies in the ICT sector had invested in green technology and 57pc had a policy to do so.

– In contrast, only 25pc of companies in the consultancy sector monitor their carbon footprint, but 71pc stated that the majority of their equipment was energy efficient.

Says Michael Barth, Regus general manager for Ireland: “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.”

Photo: (Below) Michael Barth, Regus general manager for Ireland

Michael Barth

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic