The Dutch CO2 performance ladder, Prorail, The Netherlands
There were several projects during 2011 at various locations in the Netherlands that were concerned with the renewal and maintenance of the railway. Prorail, the Dutch railway maintenance company, initiated the CO2 performance ladder, with the aim of stimulating contractors to reduce their production of CO2. The ladder has five maturity levels. Each level has a set of standard requirements as follows; insight into the company’s (and its partners’) CO2 emissions; reduction of CO2 emissions; communication on CO2 and energy saving and involvement in (other) initiatives to reduce CO2. To achieve the highest levels, a company has to participate in innovative activities that demonstrably reduce CO2 emissions.
In any procurement process a company is rewarded for its efforts to reduce CO2 in the tender process and may gain greater chances to win contracts through a virtual discount on its bidding price. The level of virtual discount is determined by the level of maturity attained within the ladder, e.g. a company that has achieved the fifth maturity level is given a greater virtual discount than those that have achieved level four.
As such, the ladder stimulates the reduction of CO2, but does not regulate the way the reduction must be reached. Therefore, companies are free to explore the most appropriate solutions for the reduction of CO2 for their own business. This approach ensures that opportunities for innovation are not locked out and that companies can achieve maturity levels in their own way. It is expected that larger companies will not only drive CO2 reduction through use of innovative measures but also to participate in knowledge sharing networks, thereby improving the performance of all organisations participating in the ladder.
In addition companies are given opportunities to participate in each other's initiatives by sharing their experiences, giving support, and applying the outcomes. Although the choice of measures is free, the ladder demands ambitious efforts from companies. Effects are substantial, and appear in projects in an economically attractive way.
As a result of this programme, awareness of how CO2 reductions can be achieved has risen within prorail, and also among all the contractors. Importantly for the public authority, the virtual discount has not resulted in higher pricing. After the success of prorail, the highway agency (Rijkswaterstaat) and several local authorities (e.g. the Municipality of Almere) have used the CO2 performance ladder in their procurement. Many of the Netherlands’ larger companies have reached the fifth level of maturity, and make a continuous effort to stay on this level. Several SMEs have also reached the fifth level (although others have claimed it to be too difficult for them). The CO2 performance ladder will be further evaluated and upgraded in 2012.
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