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Monday, April 15, 2013

Strategic CSR - Ireland

The article in the url below reminded me of the paper vs. plastic debate (Issues: Compliance, p313) and the willingness of Ireland to experiment with nudge-driven taxes (see: Strategic CSR – Recycling):
“In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. … Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable -- on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.”
The article below reveals that it is not only plastic bags where Ireland sees the potential for government-driven revenue raising to drive the CSR debate. Over the last three years, the country has also been experimenting with carbon taxes to see how they can also influence individual behavior (as well as raising much-needed revenues):
“The government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel’s carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene. Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are billed for anything that is not being recycled. The Irish now pay purchase taxes on new cars and yearly registration fees that rise steeply in proportion to the vehicle’s emissions.”
In terms of results, the program’s supporters claim that a significant part of its success is due to a direct correlation between the tax plan and individual behavior:
“Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008. Although much of that decline can be attributed to a recession, changes in behavior also played a major role, experts say, noting that the country’s emissions dropped 6.7 percent in 2011 even as the economy grew slightly.”
As a result, unlike many developed economies, Ireland is well on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments (see here).
Take care
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Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
December 28, 2012
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final