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Creating the Conditions for a Sustainable Economic Shift

Because of the challenges posed by the climate crisis, policy makers have no other option but to come up with concrete and collective solutions. Therefore, the Brussels Regional Government aims to establish the necessary conditions for an economic transition that aligns with the region's climate goals.

Due to the challenges the climate crisis brings, policy makers have no other option but to offer concrete and collective solutions. Expectations regarding environmental and public health are rightly high in today's context. Solidarity measures and significant changes, grounded in a long-term vision, are needed across all sectors and areas of competence within the region.

This means reinforcing the interim commitments and current measures that form part of the Brussels contribution to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). These measures aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 2005, and strive to contribute significantly to the increased goals of the European Union. The government commits to approaching the European objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and a similar target for indirect emissions.

A solution is only possible when it’s shared and supported by everyone in Brussels. Therefore, the government, alongside various participatory initiatives, will initiate a societal debate involving the people of Brussels, economic, social, and institutional stakeholders, and transition-focused initiatives to envision Brussels becoming a ‘low-carbon’ city by 2050.

To achieve this, the region will prioritise economic transition in its development strategy and gradually direct all economic support tools toward low-carbon production models, the circular and regenerative economy, social and democratic entrepreneurship, and the digitisation of the economy. By 2030, the government aims to provide support exclusively to socially and ecologically exemplary economic models within the region. The goal is to adopt a cross-sectoral approach involving all sectors and stakeholders.

1. Establishing Climate Governance

Engaging socio-economic actors in climate governance is necessary to share a common vision and translate the region's climate ambitions into economic objectives, paving the way for a climate, economic, and solidarity transition while considering the region’s goals regarding direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 2050. This will involve full engagement of socio-economic partners in the regional climate strategy.

Responsible Authority: Minister of Climate Transition, Environment, and Energy 

2. Transition to a Carbon-Free, Circular, and Regenerative Economy

To realise our climate ambitions, the first step is to work on an economic transition to a carbon-free and circular economy. Which means: turning environmental goals into economic opportunities, anchoring the local production in Brussels when possible, reducing transportation, optimising land use, creating added value for the people of Brussels, and generating new high-quality, difficult to delocalise jobs. All this forms part of the Regional Circular Economy Plan, the implementation of which will be fast-tracked.

The economy should now focus on

  • the challenges related to reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions and indirect emissions through the import of products consumed in Brussels; 
  • the growing scarcity of materials and resources;  
  • the necessary adaptation to climate change. 

To achieve this, businesses should adapt their core business and manage all their activities in an environmentally responsible manner

This economic transition must inherently be fair, meaning that its social and environmental impacts should be central in the economic transition policy, so that they reinforce each other rather than work against each other.

The ecological transition is conducive to social justice, which, in turn, should drive the ecological transition. This involves considering the business model and social and democratic entrepreneurship – or rather: a governance model for the company that starts from societal challenges, particularly those related to the environment, and the awareness that human capital is a stakeholder.

In this context, the regional economic transition strategy– modelled after the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy (BRPCE) – will include an industry section, a research and innovation section, and an employment and training section, which will be incorporated under the Circular and Carbon-Free Economy chapter in the Industry Plan, the Regional Innovation Plan, and the Work-Environment Alliances (as elaborated elsewhere), to ensure the smooth coordination of the various dynamics associated with planning and engaging stakeholders. Measures related to work and training from the respective plans and programs will intersect with the work-environment alliances to avoid overlaps. This strategy should pay special attention to supporting all actors involved in the transition and continue efforts to simplify administration. 

Self-employed individuals, small businesses, and SMEs constantly reassess their business models to ensure the sustainability of their economic activities. This is even more important in times of instability and uncertainty, as we are experiencing with the fight against Covid-19. Some will need to reinvent themselves or start anew after this crisis.  

To address this, specific support instruments must be deployed by the government and/or private sector to enable businesses to participate in the economic transition and assist entrepreneurs in redefining their strategies.

Responsible Authorities

  • Minister of Climate Transition, Environment, and Energy
  • State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research 

3. Towards Carbon-Free Production Models and a Circular and Social-Democratic Economy

Gradually transition all economic support instruments to carbon-free production models, the circular and regenerative economy, social and democratic entrepreneurship, and the digitisation of the economy.

  • Following the reform of business support in 2018, the introduction of the financing instrument Brucircle (equity participation or loans) exclusively dedicated to businesses in the circular economy, and the launch of the cluster, it is now time to evaluate and potentially modify these initiatives.
  • The government will prepare a status report that provides an overview and assessment of various support measures related to economic transition.
  • It will be necessary to gradually reshape economic support tools so that, by 2030, only socially and ecologically exemplary economic models are eligible for government support in the region.
  • This gradual adjustment should apply to financing tools (ordinance on economic development of businesses,, Transition Fund, economic support measures at Innoviris) as well as to guidance and establishment instruments developed by the region.

Responsible Authority: State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research

4. A Circular Stimulus Program for Government Procurements

Developing a stimulus program for government procurements and a Brussels offering that is carbon-free and circular.

The climate challenge and societal transition require adapting both the demand for and the supply of goods and services to make them circular and carbon-free. Within its jurisdiction, the region can stimulate circular and carbon-free government procurements to reduce the environmental impact of the government and encourage Brussels businesses that are economically capable to respond to government tenders.

To achieve this, a coordinated regional strategy will be developed to stimulate circular and carbon-free government procurements and prepare Brussels businesses to participate. The observatory for government contracts will be involved in this effort.

Responsible Authorities:

  • Minister of Climate Transition, Environment and Energy
  • State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research
  • Minister of Finance and Budget

5. Initiating the Work-Environment-Finance Alliance

The objective is to bring together all sectoral players through the Work-Environment-Finance Alliance to implement the strategy for the sustainable renovation of buildings in Brussels. The government will involve public and private financiers to access all possible sources of financing for building transitions. In this context, it is crucial to seize every opportunity to create activities and jobs that are difficult to delocalise, support education, ensure high-quality employment, and prevent social exploitation.

Responsible Authorities:

  • Minister of Climate Transition, Environment, and Energy
  • State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research

Raadpleeg De Go4Brussels 2030-strategie