Environmental subsidies and premiums for Brussels-based businesses
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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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
In order to benefit from the existing schemes, your company must meet several conditions:
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.
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.
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.