Ecocheques or green cheques for a better environment

As an employer, you are free to choose to offer your employees ecocheques. As a shop owner, you can choose to accept green cheques as payment. This way, you can participate in the new system for raising your employees’ awareness of environmental issues.

The ecocheque as fiscal benefit

The ecocheque is an extra-legal benefit that employers can give to their employees. This means that the green cheque is not considered salary. In other words, it is not eligible for taxes or social contributions, subject to a number of conditions:

  • The ecocheque is issued based on a collective labour agreement or an individual written agreement;
  • The CLA or written agreement contains the nominal value of the cheque and the frequency with which it will be issued;
  • The ecocheque is in the employee’s name and therefore is listed on the employee’s pay slip;
  • The ecocheque clearly states the maximum period of validity (24 months starting from the day of issue) and is only intended for the purchase of ecological products or services;
  • It is not possible to exchange the ecocheque in part or in full for cash.

If these conditions are not met, then the cheque will be considered salary and is therefore subject to taxation and social contributions. In 2010, the maximum total amount that employees may receive in ecocheques is 250 euros. The value of the cheque is a maximum of 10 euros and is valid for two years. This means that your employee may save up the cheques for 2 years in order to make a larger investment in energy-saving, for example.

Issuer companies for ecocheques

An employer may freely choose the issuing company. In Flanders, ecocheques are provided by Sodexo and Edenred.

Which ecological products or services can you buy with green cheques?

The ecocheques work according to the same principle as meal vouchers. But instead of employees buying food with them, they can buy ecological products or services such as energy-saving light bulbs, water-saving shower heads, bicycles and rechargeable batteries. The list of ecological products and services that can be paid for using ecocheques is available here in the CLA 98 drawn up by the NAR (National Labour Council) (link achter ‘hier’ = http://www.cnt-nar.be/CAO-COORD/cao-098.pdf). This list can be revised annually.

Click here for an overview

- Energy-saving

  • Purchase of products for home insulation
  • Purchase of energy-saving light bulbs, fluorescent light bulbs, LED-lighting
  • Purchase of electrical devices that run on solar energy or manually generated energy

- Water saving

  • Water saving shower head
  • Rainwater collection tank
  • Faucet attachment for saving water
  • Toilet tank with water-saving button

- Encouraging sustainable mobility

  • Instalment of particulate filters on diesel cars built in 2005 or earlier
  • Instalment of LPG- systems in cars
  • Purchase of tickets for public transport, not including season tickets
  • Purchase and maintenance of bicycles, including bicycles with an electric motor, bicycle parts and accessories
  • Ecodriving lessons
  • Purchase and maintenance of bicycles

- Waste management

- Purchase of rechargeable, portable NiMH-batteries and chargers for this type of battery

- Compost bin

- Plastic products made completely from compostable materials that meet the NBN EN 13432 standard, as well as cloth diapers

- Paper that is 100 % recycled and is unbleached or bleached with TCF

- Encouraging ecodesign: purchase of products and services that meet the criteria for the European Ecolabel.

- Encouragement of concern for nature

- Purchase of sustainably harvested wood such as FSC or PEFC or wood products made from sustainably harvested wood, as well as paper made from recycled fibres or using fresh fibres derived from sustainably harvested wood.

- Purchase of trees and outdoor plants, flower bulbs and seeds for outdoors, non-motorised garden equipment, potting soil and topsoil, fertilizers with the Biogarantie label.