In the construction and waste sector, the CO2 Performance Ladder is slowly becoming the norm. However, there are still enough sectors where no company is certified on the Ladder. However, the car industry is no longer included. Mercedes-Benz Dealer Bedrijven recently won, as the very first car company in the Netherlands, a level 3 certificate.
Mercedes-Benz Dealer Bedrijven (MBDB) is, as the name suggests, a seller of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, company cars, trucks and parts. In addition, the company offers a host of services, such as repairs and the spray painting of cars and separate parts. The car company has been around for over 80 years and has around 300 employees, spread over 6 locations in the southwest of the Netherlands.
Green electricity and energy label A
Sustainability has been prominently on the MBDB agenda for years, says Dominique van der Sar, who is responsible for the recent certification on the CO2 Performance Ladder: “We see it as our obligation to contribute to a better environment. Of course we do this by offering cleaner vehicles, but it is not possible to do this overnight. That is why we think it is important to minimize the footprint of our business operations in the meantime. ”
For example, since this year MBDB only buys green electricity and the Maasdijk branch recently obtained energy label A. The renovation of the main branch in The Hague was also carried out in a sustainable manner, complete with good insulation and a modern and energy-efficient climate system. As a result of these and other efforts, MBDB has already obtained the Recognized Sustainability Certificate, the best-known sustainability label of the Dutch car industry.
Certification on the CO2 Performance Ladder
Obtaining a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder was a logical next step, says Van der Sar. "We are not unfamiliar with CO2 reduction and energy saving," she says. “As a company with an electricity consumption of more than 50,000 kilowatt hours you are obliged in the Netherlands to map your energy consumption and to identify and ultimately implement energy saving measures. We thought it would be smart to combine that obligation with certification on the CO2 Performance Ladder. "
In the automotive sector, there is little or no demand for the CO2 Performance Ladder when it comes to tenders, but that did not stop MBDB from getting started. The company itself demands sustainability and certification on the CO2 Performance Ladder in their tenders. "For example, we also chose our waste partner because it had a certificate on the Ladder," says Van der Sar. "Then it is only logical that we take that step ourselves."
CO2 reduction of 15 percent
Step one of the certification process was the mapping of its own CO2 footprint, which in 2018 amounted to 3,210 tons of CO2. After that, an objective was set to reduce that CO2 footprint in the coming years. The dot on the horizon? A CO2 reduction of 15 percent in 2023 compared to 2018. "We have drawn up a long list of measures, small and large, that we will implement until then," says Van der Sar.
She expects that the greatest impact will be on making the six branches of the car company more sustainable. The headquarters in The Hague, for example, was previously equipped with 1,720 LED lamps, which significantly reduced the energy consumption of the building. "In addition, we are focusing on The New Driving, to reduce our fuel consumption," explains Van der Sar. “You can achieve a fuel saving of 10 percent through more efficient driving. And in the coming years we will of course electrify our fleet step by step."
More sustainable spray booths
There are also plans for sustainability in MBDB that are specifically relevant for the car industry, for example in spray booths. Van der Sar: “We are investigating the use of alternative spraying methods and varnishes that can reduce the CO2 emissions of these activities. With the use of more environmentally friendly varnishes, for example, you already make a positive impact. They contain little or no fossil raw materials and can dry at lower temperatures, so you use less energy.”
In addition, the spraying process itself can be adjusted to further reduce CO2 emissions. "High temperatures are required to let the paint dry”, Van der Sar explains. "We currently use natural gas to heat the spray booths, but in the future it may be possible to use more energy-efficient alternatives, such as UV or infrared lamps."
"We can already get started with that," she continues. “Some parts of a car need a longer period or higher temperature to dry well after spraying. By placing a UV lamp on those parts, you have to dry for a shorter time or at a lower temperature, which of course has a positive effect on your energy use. ”
In addition to its own business operations, MBDB keeps its eyes open for opportunities for cooperation in the field of sustainability; a requirement for a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder. The car company is therefore in talks with fuel supplier Tamoil, which has a gas station at the Forepark industrial estate in The Hague (where MBDB is also located). Together they investigate the possibilities for the supply of biofuel HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, ed.) to the business park.
"We hope there is enough enthusiasm for this fuel," says Van der Sar. "It would be a top performance if we would enable a more sustainable fuel option in the region in this way."
The CO2 Performance Ladder helps MBDB to fulfill and achieve the above ambitions and objectives, says Van der Sar. “The Ladder obliges you to chart your own emissions in detail. That is very important because it is really step one. Where is your impact and which buttons can you push to reduce that? Once you have this information, you can really take the right steps.”
“We have a responsibility towards sustainability. We can also take on that responsibility with the CO2 Performance Ladder.”