Tree and plant nursery as sustainability frontrunner with the CO2 Performance Ladder

Trees capture CO2. For the Dutch tree and plant nursery M. van den Oever, this means that the company can capture even more CO2 than it causes with its activities. But, in order to remain a frontrunner in sustainability, there is more work to be done. Managing director Marwin Dekkers and CSR manager Joost van den Oever at M. van den Oever tell their story about CO2 reduction in the tree and plant nursery. At SKAO, we are discovering more about the ambitions of this company to strengthen its focus on sustainability and CO2 reduction.

Practice what you preach!

Tree and plant nursery M. van den Oever has recently been awarded with a level three CO2 Performance Ladder certificate. The managing director of M. van den Oever believes the CO2 management system contributes to the fight against climate change. “M. van den Oever is committed to improve the environment with its activities. This commitment was made two years ago, when we noticed there was a need to improve the widely-used methods of cultivating trees and plants. Methods such as fertilizers, pesticides and pathogens are used by the largest production companies in order to cultivate plants and trees. We wanted to stay away from these methods and initiate change”, Dekkers says.

“This is why we want to become an ambassador of sustainability within the Dutch tree and plant nursery business. Our company policy needs to be aligned with this ambition, so we have to practice what we preach! We do not want to be merely displaying sustainability on the outside, rather than implementing it within our organization. The CO2 Performance Ladder provides us with the perfect opportunity to do just that.”

The value of green

By implementing the CO2 Performance Ladder, M. van den Oever does not only aim to contribute to the fight against climate change, but also to adhere to the demands of its clients. “Our clients are government institutions, but also landscape designers and contractors. This allows us to work within many tendering processes. Both government as well as other organizations are moving more towards sustainability. They implement the CO2 Performance Ladder as an extra quality and award advantage regulation within the tendering processes”, says the managing director.

“Green adds more value to a healthy way of life and provides solutions in terms of safety and reduction of heat and water collection. This is why governments see many opportunities in making cities greener. In the tendering process of these green projects, the government also wishes to conduct the work with the methods that are most sustainable and respectful to the environment. That is why governments prefer contractors and organizations that can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. The CO2 Performance Ladder enables organizations to showcase this commitment, in a way that the government understands.”

Business in CO2

“If you count the number of hectares of our tree plantation, then you can safely say that our CO2 footprint is positive. 1 hectare of full grown trees can convert up to 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Our plantation consists of 130 hectares of trees, which leads to compensation of CO2. However, to become a frontrunner of sustainability, we need to do more than just compensate. We have to actually take measures to continuously diminish our CO2 footprint and make this impact last”, Dekkers says.

The consumption of diesel to transport trees and plants causes the largest amount of CO2 within M. van den Oever. Next to that, mowing grass and cutting trees lead to CO2 emissions. “We hardly use any chemicals and pathogens to cultivate our trees and plants, which is why most of the work requires mechanics. However, this increases the need for diesel and electricity. The electricity necessary to conduct our work can however be bought or generated through renewable sources”, says Joost van den Oever. The company is therefore looking for ways to consume energy from renewable sources and to make their work more efficient with energy.


By implementing the CO2 Performance Ladder, M. van den Oever has gained from the use of this system, as it helps them keep track of their CO2 emissions. Dekkers: “The certification trajectory took up a lot of time to complete, but as a company we are rewarded for these efforts. The CO2 Performance Ladder provides us with more insights about what happens with CO2 in the company. Furthermore, we are enabled to continuously work on CO2 reduction and put structure into our efforts. This way, CO2 reduction is not only valuable for business, but also for our living environment. As an organization that aims to improve the living environment of many people, this gives us satisfaction.”