Sustainability and Climate Change
With the impact of recent commercial and regulatory reforms, it is critical that businesses understand any carbon exposures they are facing and identify future opportunities to help prosper in a carbon constrained economy.
There is little doubt that the impact of the Government's Clean Energy Future legislation is far reaching across all sectors of Australian businesses, both large and small.
Headed by the Government's carbon tax and the introduction of the market price for carbon, the legislation has redefined how businesses view and use energy.
Gone are the days where saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions were viewed as ethical propositions. It has now been thrust into the business cost cycle with a major impact on the bottom line.
While implementing an energy reduction and efficiency program into a business can make obvious financial sense, the result of such a campaign can also lead to a leaner, meaner organisation and operational structure. As with any change there comes opportunity as the industry develops further and progresses towards maturity.
What opportunities exist for your business?
Both Federal and State Governments have established rebate structures to incentivise the push towards a clean energy future.
For example, the Federal Government is currently delivering over $9 billion of assistance over the next three years through schemes such as the Jobs & Competitiveness Program. Therefore, it is important for all businesses to consider if they are eligible for rebates or grants under both Federal and State sustainability schemes.
How can we help?
PKF Lawler has registered under the Department of Climate Change and Energy as assurance providers to conduct audits into data supplied in the governments Jobs & Competitiveness program. Effectively, what this means is that shortly we will be able to provide assurance over data submissions under the emissions-intensive trade-exposed assistance program and greenhouse and energy data reported under the National Greenhouse and Energy (Reporting) Act 2007.
In combination with our business partners in the climate change & sustainability industry, we can also now offer extensive and tangible benefits to organisations across all aspects of carbon management and sustainability. In real terms, this means our team is able to directly supply businesses with the right avenue to apply for approved government rebates and grants, and provide assurance as to the application of these funds.
Taxation Compliance and Future Planning
Exploring the substantial impact of the sustainability measures, including carbon pricing and its accounting treatment, and taking advantage of tax credits, is also intrinsic to the management of our client relationships with the Australian Taxation Office.
Looking ahead, the government intends to include diesel used by heavy on-road vehicles into the carbon price from 1 July 2014. If this occurs, it will have a significant impact on all businesses that rely on heavy on-road vehicles as part of their supply chain, or use them directly. Our tax professionals can assist with a strategy around tax incentives and funding and the effect this will have on cash flow.
Businesses that may reap real financial benefit from our sustainability service offering include:
SME's that have environmental challenges in regard to waste management & energy consumption
Local councils, large government departments and Registered Clubs
Businesses that must have a creditable sustainable plan to secure contracts. These are traditionally those involved with the state government and mining tenders.
Regardless of your personal view on climate change, the realities are that the business community at large must understand the growth in the sustainability and environmental industry, as its impact will increase into the future.