Green economy alert for small businesses

Published 12 May 2008

Small and medium sized businesses on the Gold Coast and the Tweed should begin preparing now for a ‘green’ economy.

That’s the message from Professor Ian Eddie, newly appointed Professor in Accounting at Southern Cross University’s Tweed Gold Coast campus.

“Moving to a low-carbon emission society will require significant structural shifts in the economy, some of which are imminent,” said Professor Eddie.

“The Federal Government has already announced that a national emissions trading scheme will be in place by 2010, and other changes to ensure the long term sustainability of the Australian economy are likely to follow,” he said.

Initiatives like the emissions trading scheme, which sets a cap on the amount of pollutants that can be emitted by enterprises, will mean that many businesses will have to make significant changes to their general operations.

Businesses will need to know the financial implications of their carbon emissions.

But with fewer resources at their fingertips, Professor Eddie said there was a real risk that smaller firms might be disadvantaged in adjusting to the changes when compared to large corporations.

“Some of these changes will mean substantial alterations in corporate reporting, auditing and accounting systems,” he said.

“Many big firms already have sustainability managers and are well equipped to meet new demands made by the government.

“It’s the smaller businesses like the ones that we see so often on the Gold Coast and in the Northern Rivers region that may struggle to comply promptly with changing legislation.

“It’s vital that small and medium sized companies start to consider the implications now so that they are well prepared in advance of the new emissions trading scheme.”

Small and medium sized business owners should begin looking at how they can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon footprint while keeping up to date with developments in this area.

Professor Eddie hopes that he and researchers at Southern Cross University will be able to support Australian companies in taking a leading role as they meet the needs of a carbon neutral economy.

“The research undertaken by our MBA and doctorate students in the coming years will gather knowledge and measure the effects of this new driver in the economy,” said Professor Eddie.

“A greater understanding of new developments is important to allow Tweed and Gold Coast businesses to respond effectively and also to increase the efficiency of Australia in the global economic system.”

Professor Eddie has a well established reputation in his field and has worked with the Australian Treasury and government agencies throughout Asia to advise on various financial and economic topics.

Previously the Dean of Faculty of Business and Government at the University of Canberra, he also worked at the University of New England for over 20 years.

Professor Ian Eddie will be available for comment on the Federal budget to be handed down tomorrow.

Photo: Professor Ian Eddie

Media contact: Zuleika Henderson media officer, Southern Cross University Tweed Gold Coast Campus: 07 5506 9385 or 0408 644533