About the Carbon Tax

The Carbon Tax was passed on November 8, 2011. The idea is that polluters will pay per tonne of carbon they release into the atmosphere. This cost will initially be set at $23, and increase gradually until 2015, when we will shift to a trading scheme that will let the market set the cost. This is widely thought of as the most effective and least costly mechanism to reduce carbon output and reduce the level of climate change that is occurring (Carbon Tax Facts).

Visit www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au to read the most recent updates and see what incentives your business may be able to utilise.

How will you be affected?

While small to medium businesses will not be required to pay a carbon price, there is expected to be an indirect impact on this sector of the economy. Cost pressures will be passed down through the supply chain, which will result in higher operating costs.

It is important for businesses to decrease expenses in other areas of the business to level out costs from this indirect impact.

The carbon tax is a major piece of legislation that will have a lasting effect on all business owners and it very well could be a positive experience for those who take action now to research, plan ahead, health-check their business fundamentals and capitalise on the opportunities.

There are practical steps that can be taken now to minimise the impact on your business and some of these include:

  1. Identify high energy use hotspots

    Getting a handle on energy use is your first priority to work out where savings can be made. A professional energy or carbon footprint assessment will include tips on where your business can improve, or, you can do your own audit. There are lots of helpful free tools online.

  2. Get more efficient with energy

    Reduce energy in the workplace through changes to lighting and machinery settings. Simple actions such as turning off computer monitors and light switches is a good start. Get staff involved in environmental efforts in the office. Utilise emerging green technologies.

  3. Review your current expenses and those incurred over the past year

    Direct costs may be fuel, electricity and gas, and indirect costs may be business travel, freight and waste removal.

  4. Gain a deeper understanding of where additional costs may be incurred

    Ask suppliers about the effect on their business and when they will be able to tell you their price impacts. Major price hikes needs to be justified, not just to you but also to the ACCC.

  5. Tap into the carbon reduction market

    Create low carbon products to boost sales. Show initiative through voluntary branding to give your business the market advantage.

  6. Review your important business processes and identify areas where you could be operating more efficiently

    For example, use online technologies like Go To Meeting or Skype to conduct meetings. Moving your business to a stronger online component will also mean less spending on business supplies and stationery. Look at changing processes, upgrading equipment and re-training staff.

  7. Get informed

    Your business is more likely to achieve the best outcomes from a national carbon price mechanism when there is a solid understanding of the content of the scheme. This will enable you to easily navigate your way around the legislative package that underpins the scheme.

  8. Obtain green credentials

    Given that sustainability now has a direct cost associated with it, many businesses and consumers will place much more importance on only dealing with sustainable businesses with verifiable green credentials. Green credentials will help you refine your business processes saving your business money, open you up to new markets and ensure you can continue to trade with the old.

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