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Feb. 21, 2023
Are you an SME or a large company located in the Brussels Region? Do you want to know which subsidies you are entitled to in order to implement your climate strategy? This article is for you. The energy crisis and the recession are quick to reinforce the conviction of some business leaders that the climate transition necessarily means a loss of profitability. However, the Brussels Region has developed a number of support schemes to help you manage your climate strategy. This non-exhaustive article is devoted to the various subsidies to which you are entitled at each stage of your climate strategy and to a reflection on the existing schemes. We would like to thank Thibaut Martens, subsidy expert at Subsiconseils, for his insights on the subject.
In October 2019, the Brussels Government will adopt its 2030 Energy and Climate Plan. This plan, also known as the PNEC, should enable the Brussels Region to reduce its direct and indirect GHG emissions, to aim for energy efficiency by pursuing the development of renewable energies, and to stimulate innovation in order to find solutions to the climate and energy challenges. The levers of action to achieve this are numerous: renovation of all of Brussels' buildings, support for renewable energy, reduction of waste incineration, soft mobility, promotion of the circular economy, etc. You can read the following article for more information.
The climate transition is a collective challenge in which businesses play an essential role. In order to achieve its objectives, the Brussels Government has put in place a whole series of support and financial aid schemes for SMEs and large companies. Atooldeveloped by Brussels Economy-Employment allows you to see in a few clicks the aid you can receive according to your situation.
In order to benefit from the existing schemes, your company must meet several conditions:
In Tapio's vision, your strategy consists of three pillars: understand, act and engage. We have listed the main incentives / financial aids you are entitled to at each stage of your strategy.
"Understanding' means becoming aware of your carbon footprint by visualising your main sources of emissions. This is the first essential step in your climate strategy. There are different mechanisms to help you understand your impact.
The 'act' pillar is about taking steps to reduce your footprint. How do you do this? By setting ambitious reduction targets. Reducing your footprint can be done at different links of your value chain or production process such as
The actions to be taken vary from one company to another. For one company, reducing its impact will mean taking measures to reduce its heating consumption. For another, it will be through a reduction in emissions associated with logistics. Don't hesitate to let yourself be inspired by the experiences of our clients.Visualising your main sources of emissions allows you to consider areas of reduction within your production process that you had not thought of and that are potentially covered. For example, to reduce your emissions from your heating and electricity consumption, there are Renolution premiums available to private individuals as well as to professionals. You are also entitled to a premiumif you are considering the purchase of an electric utility vehicle to reduce your emissions associated with logistics.
This third pillar is about inspiring your partners and your sector. By pursuing an ambitious reduction strategy, you are helping to shape a low-carbon ecosystem. It is difficult to identify a specific "premium" aimed at “onboarding” your partners in the climate transition. Nevertheless, some interventions could be included in the training aid (40 to 60% intervention) according to specific criteria to be respected. However, there are various formulas for stimulating reflection on climate solutions, such as collective coaching. An energy audit or a carbon footprint assessment is generally used to raise awareness of your impact. However, they can also be an opportunity to ask questions about how to structure or communicate more effectively on your climate actions towards your partners.
Despite the existing schemes, none of them is specifically dedicated to accelerating the climate transition, in the sense that they all 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 generate a rebound effect of a lower carbon footprint and further anchor the company in the climate transition.
According to Thibaut Martens, an 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 (1) stimulating innovation by Brussels players and (2) encouraging a transition towards circular economy models. In concrete terms, they allow participating companies to be granted a bonus by being recognised as 'circular'.
For the expert, there is a real gap between the tools currently available and the political will. This gap should be closed by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Indeed, at the end of December 2022, the Brussels government approved a series of measures to support Brussels businesses during the energy crisis. One of them concerns the approval of two new premiums accessible by the end of February: 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 interactions with 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.
All of the measures put in place by the Brussels-Capital Region contribute directly or indirectly to accelerating the climate transition at the level of companies. However, the be.circular projects, the consultancy and energy consumption bonuses seem to be the levers of action favoured by companies in Brussels to act in favour of the transition.
Although the amount of these schemes alone will not be enough to accelerate your climate transition, it is nevertheless necessary to remember their existence in this difficult context. Also keep in mind that a carbon footprint can suggest areas of action that could be covered by incentives. With Tapio, you are no longer alone. If you want to take action on the transition, estimating your carbon footprint is the first essential step. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to book a demo.