As of today, our clients are welcome to pay their purchases with electronic “eco-cheques” emitted by Edenred, Sodexo and others. Most of our products (second hand, LED’s, etc.) are eligible, so it is a logical step. However, we deeply regret that this establishes a link between our company and Sodexo, market leader in the emission of such cheques. It is very unfortunate that part of the value of your purchases will benefit a company that has a very. nasty. track record. Many of you will remember the brand Sodexo from its sub-standard food services in canteens, but let’s also not forget that it is a major player in the American public-private prison complex, that it was convicted of racial discrimination in 2005, and that it upholds abusive working conditions.
Then why accept these means of payment? In many industries, employers do not have a choice with regards to eco-cheques. They are part of the collective agreements that are negotiated by the sectorial representatives of employers and unions. As the cheques are exempt from income taxes, they are seen as a cheap way to increase the netto income of workers. (The cost, usually much higher than typical credit cards, is paid by the merchant).
Further more, in conversations with our customers, we have realised that many of these eco-cheques remain unused beyond their expiry date. In this case, the entire value of the cheque remains in the operator’s pockets.
In conclusion: we will accept the cheques for now, but not without hoping that they will disappear in the long run, as they mostly seem to benefit the financial services industry, and not the merchants or producers of environmentally sound products.
Image: Painting by Robert Suermondt as part of the series ‘Leuven 2030‘.