Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Less Taxes More Eco

I wonder whether adding compulsory eco taxes to our shop and hotel bills in holiday hotspots is really the answer. Lately I have had this experience in a number of shops in mainland Europe where the price on the label is “touched-up” at the till to include an eco incentive.

Obviously, I have no particular objection to the gathering of funds for green projects; I just think that overall this could be done in a more sensible and less forceful way. It is true that in holiday destinations where there is an obvious duty to protect the environment, this money is needed, but it is also true that very seldom we get told where the money is going. How much of it will benefit the environment? How much of it will go to local projects? It does make you wonder how the whole process can be rendered more transparent and certainly less pushy. When the eco-tax made its way to the Balearic Islands for instance, and money started to pour in, there wasn’t even an obligation to talk about where it would eventually go; in some cases it hadn’t even been decided.

I think that sometimes people do make the right decisions and genuinely want to help green projects, but local governments should really try and think of more creative ways of doing this other than just slapping miscellaneous charges onto our bills. The truth is that this type of activity actually does not benefit the green movement in the long run as people paying these extras begin to associate the word ECO with the word TAX!

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