Business executive gives cautious welcome to the Prime Ministers announcement setting a timeframe for a tax on carbon

Matthew Tukaki, CEO of sustainability advisory firm, The Sustain Group, has given a cautious welcome to the decision by the Prime Minister to set a price on carbon. Mr Tukaki has said that even though a regulatory framework will have significant impacts on business and industry, the clarity of timing, the decision to put a date on its implementation will at least provide organisations with a timeline to work towards. A carbon price is expected to be implemented on July 1st, 2012.

“The reality is that a price on carbon will have implications for business and industry – there is no doubt about that. However, at least now we have a fixed timeframe to work towards that will enable us to begin the organisational transformation process.” Mr Tukaki said.

Opening the annual Australia Conference at Melbourne University (Melbourne School of Business) last Friday Mr Tukaki told business executive and leaders that even though the issues around a price on carbon were complex and the framework would need to evolve over a period of time, there could also be positives:

“As the Government has said, this is a very comprehensive economic reform issue, not just one around sustainability – so, there needs to be a lot more discussion and agreement on everything from the set price, to the skills that will need to be developed in the economy to support such reforms. On the skills side, had the Government moved to implement an emissions trading scheme before a price was set we just would not have the skills base to take it forward. Now, as part of the organisational transformation process, we should also be seeking an investment in technical and vocational skills to enable business to re-tool,” Mr Tukaki said.

“At the moment we need to move the discussion and debate around whether you believe in climate change or not, and look at we transition into a greening of the economy. The reality is, there are commercial opportunities for business and industry to become more sustainable. For example, developing more efficient processes, investing in more sustainable technologies and even focusing on lower consumption of certain products such as energy, can lead to significant cost savings.” Mr Tukaki said.

“The only concern I have is not the ability for larger organisations and industries to adapt and transform, it is the ability of smaller and medium sized business to be supported through the process.” Mr Tukaki said.

Mr Tukaki is due to address the knowledge forum in Sydney next week where he is expected to outline a series of transitional processes that the Government may want to consider.

For comment: Matthew Tukaki, 0435 636 373 (+61 435 636 373)

Matthew Tukaki is CEO and Executive Chairman of The Sustain Group. He is also Australia’s Representative to the United Nations Global Compact.

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