26 Jul 2011

How to pay less (carbon) tax

The carbon price is in – $23 a tonne (rising 2.5% per annum) from July next year. The top 500 polluters will have to buy carbon permits based on the amount of carbon they produce. The rest of us will pay through increased costs on everything from electricity to transport.

Of course, the more work your business can do now to reduce its carbon footprint, the less the tax will affect your bottom line, and businesses who move quickly to reduce their carbon-related costs will have a tangible advantage over their competitors. (Even more so come 2015, when the $23 set price will flip to a market-based, cap and trade mechanism).

Here are some quick tips for reducing carbon consumption in your business:

1. Switch-off. When it comes to electricity usage, the off-switch is the most powerful weapon. Adhesive stickers or ‘green’ reminders stuck next to light switches and appliances will prompt staff to switch off after use while also serving as a reminder to consider carbon generally.

2. Conduct an audit. Before you can reduce the effect of the carbon tax, you need to know where and how it’s affecting your business. Perform a business-wide audit to find the largest sources of carbon production within your business. A specific IT-related audit can examine the devices within your infrastructure and may allow you to discover technology changes that will reduce your footprint.

3. Have a strategy. Once you’ve identified your biggest sources of carbon pollution, develop a plan for curtailing their effect through more efficient processes, newer equipment or alternatives. Where you can’t eliminate carbon production, ensure that you’re using the least amount possible (optimum heating efficiency is usually found at 18-20 degrees in winter and 25-26 degrees in summer, for example).