Environmental subsidies and premiums for Brussels-based businesses


Reading time: 4-5 minutes



Do you want your business to be more substainable but it’s too expensive? If you have a company located in Brussels region, then you might be able to benefit from environmental subsidies and premiums. While some believe that climate transition means being less profitable, a change in your company’s sustainable practices might actually be more profitable. Even more so, if you take advantage of the support offered by the Brussels region.

Thanks to Thibaut Martens, subsidy expert at Subsiconseils, we have been able to compile a non-exhaustive article. Read to discover the subsidies you are entitled to depending on your situation.



Why does the Brussels Government offer environmental subsidies? 


Environmental subsidies are part of Brussels’ larger sustainability plan that was adopted in October 2019 (2030 Energy and Climate Plan, PNEC). This plan should enable the Brussels Region to reduce its direct and indirect GHG emissions.

This will be done through various actions, such as renovation of buildings, supporting remewable energies, support sustainable initatives, soft mobility, etc.



What kind of environmental subsidies are available? 


The climate transition is a collective challenge, so you can find different environmental subsidies, but not only. Brusselss Government has put in place a series of subsidies and financial aids for companies of each size and coming from different entities:

  • At the federal level, tyou can get tax advantages if you invest in energy savings and/or environmentally friendly research and development.
  • At the regional level, you can benefit from various subsidies and financial aids. These include energy bonuses, aids for saving and producing energy from renewable sources, aids for exceeding EU standards, the production of eco-products, etc.
  • At the level of municipalities, some housing subsidies can be applied to companies as well.



What environmental subsidies are available in Brussels? 


A company’s sustainability strategy consists of three main steps – understanding the impact of your company, acting to reduce it and communicating and engaging with your stakeholders. We have listed the main subsidies and premiums your company is entitled to.




Sustainability premiums to understand the impact of your company


To understand your carbon footprint, you will need to discover the main sources of emissions. The following consultancy premiums will help you kickstart your company’s sustainability strategy. 

  • Consultancy premiums – they aim at improving and transforming SMEs strategies trough consultancy assignments of up to 6 months. These grants are limited to a maximum of 10,000 euros per year with a rate of intervention by the Brussels-Capital Region of 40% to 60%. If, for example, you want to calculate your footprint, you can benefit from this consultancy grant as a micro, small or medium company.
  • Energy saving consultancy premiums – these grants fund consultancy around energy saving strategies. The intervention will be raised to 70% of the cost of the mission, with a maximum of 15,000 EUR.
  • Energy Pack – this aid is for SMEs and ONGs and it was promoted by Brussels Environment. It includes coaching sessions to obtain free professional support to optimize energy consumption in your building. This pack can be combined with a decarbonisation coaching created by hub.brussels and Tapio.




Sustainability premiums to reduce the carbon footprint of your business


Once you know the impact of your company, you need to set clear targets to reduce your emissions. This can be done at different point of your value chain, for example by otpimizing your products and packaging, reducing the energy consumption of your company, optimizing the upstream and downstream logistics, etc.

  • Renolution premiums – available to both individuals and professionals, these premiums will help you with your energy consumption optimization efforts.
  • Electric vehicle premium – if you want to reduce the emissions associated with logistics, you might consider purchasing electric vehicles. This premium will help you achieving this goal.




Inspire your stakeholders


By pursuing a carbon reduction strategy, you’re helping to shape a low-carbon future. It is difficult to identify a specific “premium” aimed at communicating and engaging with your partners in the climate transition. However, some interventions could be included in the training aid (40 to 60% intervention) according to specific criteria.

There are various formulas for stimulating reflection on climate change, such as collective coaching and team-building challenges.



Who can benefit from environmental subsidies?


In order to benefit from the existing schemes, your company must meet several conditions:  

  • Your company’s seat must be in Brussels Region. This includes municipalities with a postcode between 1000 and 1210.
  • Be active in an eligible sector of activity. Check the list of accepted sectors by type of premium. Your actual activity is defined by your NACE VAT code, which you can find on the Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises.
  • Some premiums are also limited by the size of your company (micro, small/medium, large). If you’re not sure about the size of your company, you can read this article by Bruxelles Économie-Emploi. 
  • Your company is not a public company.
  • You haven’t received more than €200,000 in aids over the last 3 years (including the current one).

A tool developed by Brussels Economy and Employment allows you to see in a few clicks the aid that you can receive according to your situation.



What’s next?


The existing environmental subsidies aren’t specifically dedicated to accelerating the climate transition. In other words, they only contribute to it indirectly. For example, a renovation premium has the primary objective of insulating the building and making energy savings. This is supposed to optimize the energy consumption of the company and lower its carbon footprint

According to Thibaut Martens, expert at Subsiconseils, companies currently prefer to use be.circular projects to act in favour of the climate transition. These projects take the form of calls for projects with the aim of stimulating innovation in Brussels and encourage a transition towards circular economy. In concrete terms, they allow participating companies to be granted a bonus by being recognised as circular. 

For Thibaut, there is a real gap between the tools currently available and the political will. This gap should be closed as soon as possible. At the end of December 2022, the Brussels Government approved a series of measures to support businesses based in Brussels during the energy crisis. One of them concerns the approval of two new premiums accessible by the end of February 2023. They consist in an investment premium and a consultancy premium to save energy and achieve the energy transition of companies. 

Another measure approved at the end of 2022 concerns the mechanism for protecting SMEs in the event of a power cut by granting them the right to a temporary energy supply from the DSO (Sibelga). The creation of a new “Rénolution” energy premium scheme for 2023 and the new energy saving consultancy premium are other measures approved by the Brussels government at the end of 2022 to enable companies to speed up their transition.



How can the existing subsidies be improved? 


According to Thibaut Martens, the subsidy and aid scheme set up by the Brussels-Capital Region is moving in the right direction.

One of the main points for improvement concerns the concept of transition and the advisory missions. For example, the expert suggests expanding the areas covered by the transition and consolidating the consultancy assignments. Stimulating more exchanges between experts on the targeting of aid or strengthening the interaction of the actors on the field in the operationalisation of solutions are also part of the tracks mentioned by Thibaut Martens. Indeed, certain mechanisms such as the 300 euro fuel oil vouchers continue to apply to all actors, including those who have no difficulty making ends meet. Although this measure is federal and not regional, it still highlights the need for precise and relevant targeting of support schemes.

However, the future emergence of this new expertise, such as climate consultants, has a darkside: the risk for the expert is that this trend will encourage the development of experts “without good arguments”, which could leave the door open to potential abuses.



Want your business to be more sustainable?