US Business Demands More Tax Breaks for Green Investment

Jun 02, 2010, 09:38 ET from Regus

DALLAS, June 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A new global survey by workspace solutions provider Regus has found that 63% of US companies have declared that government tax breaks are required to accelerate adoption of green investments.

The Regus survey revealed that only 37% of companies worldwide actually measure their emissions and less than one-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 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.

In the US specifically, the survey found that only 13% of companies monitor their carbon footprint and less than one-third (27%) monitor their energy consumption. In addition to this, 76% had no company policy to invest in energy efficient equipment. Running costs were found to be very important to more than one-third of companies (37%) who declared that they would only invest in low-carbon equipment if it were cheaper or the same to run as conventional equipment. Finally, 63% 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.

Small companies throughout the globe are below average on their actual level of green investment, indicating that smaller businesses are harder pressed to select low-carbon equipment when this comes at marginally higher price, as short-term needs are more urgent than long-term investment. In the US only 9% of small businesses (19% globally) monitor their carbon footprint compared to 31% of large businesses. 56% of large corporations have actually invested in low carbon equipment compared with less than one-quarter of SMEs (22%). Although no targets have been set at federal level,[1] 19 states have set energy efficiency improvement targets and 29 states for increased renewable energy usage.[2]

These ambitious targets are evidently not taking into account the reality of green equipment adoption among smaller businesses.

The survey also analyzed sector differences and found that media and marketing, with only 10% of companies monitoring their carbon foot print, was the least green sector. Manufacturing and banking, with 9% of companies monitoring their carbon emissions, fared little better. In all sectors, apart from retail, less than one-quarter of companies have a policy to invest in green equipment. In the retail sector, companies with a green equipment policy are only 31%. In the IT sector, 42% of companies have invested in green technology, a bigger proportion than all other sectors, although only 20% had a policy to do so.

Sande Golgart, West Region Vice President, Regus U.S., 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 any country's business makeup If the government intends to follow up the results achieved by stimulus spending on clean energy which has created or saved 52,000 jobs by September 2009[1] and is serious about meeting ambitious carbon emission reduction targets by mid-century, then it needs to properly incentivize the change. At the moment, low-carbon business technology is often limited in range and sold at premium pricing. This is proving to be an obstacle for businesses looking 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[2], 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."

About Regus

The Regus Group (LSE:RGU) is the world's leading global provider of innovative workspace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world's largest network of video communication studios. Regus delivers a new way to work, whether it's from home, on the road or from an office. Clients such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core business.

Over 500,000 clients a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of 1,000 locations in 450 cities and 80 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. For more information please visit:

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    [1] Canadian Environmental Defense, Falling Behind, 2010
    [2] Regus, A Waste of Space, April 2010
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