The economic fabric of the Brussels-Capital Region is made up of over 20,000 enterprises, including a large number of SMEs and over 70,000 independents. Today, the Region is acting to stimulating the economy and employment by supporting the development of new industries and new trades oriented toward sustainable development. This is especially the case in construction with trades related to energy saving and sustainable buildings, but also in other sectors such as hotels, restaurants and cafés.
It is essential that every economic participant be aware of the necessity to act to reduce the impact of its activities on the environment. This involves voluntary activities such as eco-management, but also regulations and subsidies that aim, among other things, to restore polluted sites that can accommodate new business projects.
Sustainable urban growth agreement (Pacte de Croissance Urbaine Durable, PCUD)
The objective of this agreement is to mobilise all those involved in order to remove a series of obstacles and increase synergies in favour of employment in Brussels.
The text of the PCUD specifies these commitments and their conditions for success:
- Promoting dialogue among corporate representatives as well as their cooperation with the public sector.
- Promoting collaborations between economic operators and those involved in employment, professional training and qualifying education.
- Mobilising resources and public and private operators to increase employment and sustainable urban growth.
The sustainable character of this agreement involves creating high-quality jobs fulfilling current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. This requires:
- orienting and guiding methods of production of services or goods from the long-term perspective of a zero-carbon economy and the depletion of raw materials (shortage, price rise), taking account of the importance of preserving and developing economic activity, on the one hand, and with concern for reducing inequalities and social cohesion on the other hand;
- tackling the issue of employment in Brussels through a global, integrated approach, taking into account the number of factors involved and their interrelated nature.
Construction is a major activity sector in Brussels in which professional skills are rapidly evolving.
The demand for construction of sustainable buildings is exploding, and the supply must be sustained. A participatory dynamic unites the professional associations, the labour unions, and the public sector in the environment, economic activation and training. Thus, through an open approach, these parties have presently set up 44 proposals for action, forming a real alliance that aids and stimulates the economy while allowing workers - including the less qualified - businesses and students to acquire knowledge and skills that meet the energetic and environmental requirements of very-high-performance buildings.
Brussels Sustainable Economy
“Green” development of our regional economy is pursued in particular via the Brussels Sustainable Economy (BSE) initiative. The BSE project is supported by the ERDF European fund for the 2007-2013 period. It aims to define, develop and implement a strategic plan for expanding Brussels economic activities in the environmental area.
Regulations and subsidies
Brussels manages its regulatory process so as to be both a “green” city and an open city, and so as to reduce the negative effects of urban activity on the quality of life and health of the residents. These specialised regulations, including the environmental permit, a central pillar of this sustainable policy, apply to individuals as well as businesses, institutions and associations. In this philosophy, the Region also strives to support, financially and through adapted guidance, numerous initiatives – in many sectors - that aim to comply with environmental legislation while developing economic activities and jobs. For more information, see the “Nuisance Reduction” page
Numerous sites in Brussels located along the Brussels-Charleroi Canal have been contaminated during recent decades by highly polluting activities. Co-financed by the ERDF European fund and the Brussels-Capital Region, the Brussels Greenfields project aims to clean up the polluted sites around the canal (a Priority Intervention Zone) when economic projects are established there, and to allow these projects to energise the area by creating economic activity and jobs there. In exchange, the project sponsors receive subsidies for cleaning up the sites, and the integrated guidance of various Brussels organisations in reclamation and start-up of economic activities. Since 2009, calls for proposals have invited businesses to submit their application to occupy these sites to be restored.
The “Ecodynamic Company” label is an acknowledgement of good practices implemented in environmental management in businesses. It rewards their environmental dynamism and their progress with regard to, in particular, waste management, rational use of energy, management of the mobility of workers, etc.
The Brussels Inter-union Network for Environmental Awareness (Réseau Intersyndical Bruxellois de Sensibilisation à l'Environnement) aims to integrate concern for the environment into labour union practices, with a view toward also developing jobs in sectors favourable to both the health of workers and the environment.