The Dutch company Loonbedrijf Van Diepen has been certified on the CO2 Performance Ladder since 2014. The organisation specializes in greenery, horticulture and livestock farming, among other things. It focuses on activities such as maintenance of public greenery across roads and highways and landscaping. With a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder, Van Diepen aims to gain insights in its carbon emissions and structurally reduce the CO2 caused by its business activities.
Thanks to the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder, Van Diepen had been awarded a project in which the Ladder was applied as a sustainable procurement instrument. The project was initiated by the Dutch municipality of Koggenland. During a period of three years, Van Diepen was responsible for the maintenance of public greenery, such as shrubs across high roads, and cleaning ditch waterways in and around the areas of the municipality.
“We collaborated with the municipality and agreed upon how we were going to conduct the assignment”, says Jeroen van Diepen, who is responsible for the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder within the organisation. “When we developed our routes and plans to conduct the work, we made sure that we took the most efficient routes, so fuel would not be wasted. This led to savings on CO2 emissions.”
During the project phase, Van Diepen applied a construction banner of the CO2 Performance Ladder on the project location. On the construction banner, the following words could be read: ‘We are working towards CO2 reduction with the CO2 Performance Ladder’. Van Diepen has set an objective to reduce its carbon emissions by 8 percent in 2020, with the year 2013 as a baseline. In order to achieve this objective, the organisation aims at saving its fuel usage and purchasing electrical or hybrid machines to conduct its work.
“The use of diesel is the greatest cause of CO2 emissions within our organisation. The fossil fuel is used in our machinery, such as tractors and cranes. For this reason, we are creating awareness amongst our employees to save fuel while using the machinery. They can for example turn off the engine when the machine is not in use for short periods of time. These are small actions, but they contribute to a bigger picture.”
According to Van Diepen, it is obvious for the company to implement the CO2 Performance Ladder because of the award advantage that certified organisations can receive on their registration for tenders. Moreover, the CO2 Performance Ladder leads to more insights in the carbon emissions that companies cause within projects as well as on a day to day basis. The Ladder then facilitates the organisations to structurally reduce the carbon emissions.
However, the company states that it becomes more and more difficult to compete during tenders, because most of the businesses in the sector have also obtained a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder. This is why Van Diepen calls upon commissioning parties to do more in tenders than merely asking its contractors what they do to enhance sustainability. Van Diepen argues that commissioning parties should pay more attention to opportunities in reducing carbon emissions during projects instead of awarding the projects to the contractor that can conduct the work with the least amount of costs.
“Many commissioning parties ask its contractors to implement the CO2 Performance Ladder, but the commissioning parties themselves do little to show that they care about CO2 reduction”, says Van Diepen. “Now, I see that this is gradually beginning to change. Climate change is becoming more and more urgent and organisations are more than willing to contribute in climate mitigation by cutting back carbon emissions. With all this happening, a commissioning party should set the right example and cannot lag behind.” The CO2 manager expects an increase in the amount of commissioning parties implementing the CO2 Performance Ladder as a sustainable procurement instrument in an effort to contribute to the fight against climate change. Van Diepen: “It would be great if all governments work with the CO2 Performance Ladder, also in the agriculture sector for example. There are many opportunities to cut back on carbon emissions. By implementing the CO2 Performance Ladder in different sectors, we can develop a common ground for sustainability and CO2 reduction which stimulates many different parties to collaborate.”