Recombinant Records

Green Tax Shift

Green Tax Shift cartoon

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Environmental policy is not a matter of black and white.<br />Our environmental problems are not caused by 'evil' corporations trying to destroy the planet.<br />They are the unintended side-effects of human progress and development.<br />Every product, every service that we produce has a mix of 'good' and 'bad' qualities.<br />Our challenge is to maximise the good and minimise the bad.</p><p>Economic markets fail when the total costs of an activity are not measured by its price.<br />If the total societal costs are not internalised by the company conducting an activity...<br />...these costs are 'externalised' and passed to society to remedy.<br />This is an inefficient way for our world to operate, and it is created unintentionally by our current laws and mindset.</p><p>Our current approach to taxation is twisted and tangled.<br />So often it discourages the activities that we want more of...<br />...and encourages activities that we want less of.<br />Our current system throws a blanket over all businesses operating in the economy,<br />regardless of the burden their activities place on society and the environment.<br />We need a 'green tax shift'...<br />A change from taxes on good activities (employment, investment, goods, services)<br />...towards taxes on bad activities (waste, pollution, bads, disservices)</p><p>Green taxes work because they do not suppress business activity in general.<br />Rather they specifically target the waste and pollution that would otherwise burden society.<br />Green taxes would be introduced at a rate equal to the roll-back of existing taxes,<br />as the primary aim is not to grab for cash, but to provide incentive for businesses to invest in clean technology and practices.<br />A green tax shift supports business leaders, who would no longer be conflicted about caring for society versus maximising shareholder profits.</p><p>Following a green tax shift, the tax a business pays would be proportional to the amount of waste generated.<br />Instead of companies profiting from externalising as much waste as possible into the environment, companies would profit from removing as much waste as possible from their processes.<br />Companies would continue their relentless quest for profits...<br />...but would create a competitive advantage from leaving a light footprint on the planet while conducting business.</p><p>Each year, businesses would be rewarded for being more efficient than their rivals...<br />...but they would be kept on their toes as governments steadily raise their standards for 'best practice' over time...<br />...and gradually expand the scope of taxes to include more and more categories of waste.<br />Over time the green tax shift would rid more and more inefficiencies out of businesses...<br />...and profitably lead us to a more sustainable economy...<br />and a cleaner environment.</p><p>Pollution is not an inevitable by-product of industrial 'progress'...<br />...it is an indication of exactly where our designers, inventors and engineers stopped innovating under our current laws and incentives.<br />We are all responsible for inspiring the behaviour of industries in our economy.<br />Our current system forces businesses to be the 'bad guys'.<br />It's time to change the law and let them become the good guys.</p><p>Rather than wondering how to clean up the mess left by industry...<br />...let's turn industry itself into the force that reverses humanity's impact on the planet.<br />Let's begin the green tax shift. 8 x A4 page PDF file (6 MB)