Impact of Ex'tax on business: survey

17 Oct 2013

During our masterclass at Springtij Festival, we asked the audience what the impact of Ex'tax would be on their business. The survey contained three questions:

  1. If labour costs (such as income tax, payroll tax, social contributions and VAT) go down, what would be the impact on your business?
  2. If costs of natural resources (such as metals, minerals, fossil fuels, carbon emissions, pollution, water and ecosystem services) go up, what would be the impact on your business?
  3. What impact would a shift in taxation from labour to natural resources have on your sector?

The audience consisted of a range of professionals from business, NGOs and governmental organisations.

One person (a consultant) replied: 'If labour costs would go down I would hire more people.' Another consultant wrote down: 'I'd make more profit, as labour costs are our main cost right now.' A scientist mentioned: 'There will be more (young) scientists at work.' And someone in the building industry answered: 'This would mean an incredible increase in the number of building projects because labour is the most important cost component there. At last, there will be an incentive to use more efficient building methods which are currently too expensive.' Other responses were:

'We would print less on paper, shift to digital newspapers and improve our research.'
- A journalist

'Ex'tax would decrease the risks of starting a business as for young entrepreneurs labour costs are relatively high.'
- A small business owner

'Ex'tax improves the business case of local food production.'
- Someone in agriculture

'Conflict minerals might disappear altogether.'
- A banker

'I will travel less to save CO2 and use videoconferencing more often.'
- A researcher

'Craftsmanship will be more highly valued.'
- An NGO manager


Some of the respondents also mentioned challenges. Someone in the steel industry, for example, said: 'Steel production will become too expensive.' And for the printing industry results are not clearcut either: 'Water and paper costs go up, labour costs go down. I'm not sure I would hire more people then.' Someone from a major bank told us that 'There will be a enormous change in the way money flows; banks will invest differently'. This shift might reduce profitability in the banking sector.

Toolbox for business

Together with the Future Leaders Team of the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) we are in the process of developing a tool for business to calculate the effects of a tax shift from labour to resources. This will be an important next step for the business community and government to assess the impact of Ex'tax. The above mentioned remarks and questions will help us improve our material on Ex'tax.



Attendents masterclass concentrate on filling out the Ex'tax survey.