The CO2 Performance Ladder is a driver for structural CO2 reduction

The Dutch freight transportation company Van der Stelt has the ambition to continuously develop in sustainability and CO2 reduction. For this, the organisation is certified on the CO2 Performance Ladder. By implementing the CO2 management system, Van der Stelt monitors its carbon emissions, structurally cuts back CO2 and was awarded a project in which the CO2 Performance Ladder plays an essential part. Arjan Rademaker, manager of operations at Van der Stelt, explains more about the developments within the company.

Van der Stelt is specialised in freight transport by land and fertilizers. Next to the transportation of its clients’ goods, the organisation supplies high end liquid fertilizers. “The products we supply consist partly of liquid residual streams coming from the food industry, among other industries”, says Rademaker. “By using these residual streams, there is less need to make use of virgin materials to produce the liquid fertilizers we supply. This leads to CO2 reduction. By giving the residual streams a second life, we prevent them from ending up in sewage treatment plants. This too is beneficial for the environment.”

Winning a tender by means of the CO2 Performance Ladder

With the freight transport services and the trade and distribution of liquid fertilizers, Van der Stelt is active in agriculture and infrastructure. The company has a fleet of 45 trucks. Rademaker explains more about a project in which Van der Stelt won the tender through the award advantage provided by the CO2 Performance Ladder. The project consists of the transportation of sediment for one of the Dutch water authorities, Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier.

“For several Dutch water authorities, we transport sediment coming from sewage treatment plants. We relocate the sediment from the sewage treatment plants to a location where the water is separated from the sediment. Then we transport the remaining sediment to a dryer, where the water will be evaporated”, Rademaker explains. “One of the commissioning parties for the transportation of sediment coming from sewage treatment plants is Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier. The water authority presented a tender for this project in 2015, in which they used the CO2 Performance Ladder as procurement instrument.” To register in this tender, Van der Stelt set their CO2 ambition level to 3. The company did not have a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder at the time. When Van der Stelt was awarded the contract, they needed to prove that they complied to the CO2 Performance Ladder level 3 within a year, which they did.

Van der Stelt takes measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the project that is awarded to them by means of the CO2 Performance Ladder. The company remains in dialogue with the water authority to ensure effective CO2 reducing measures are taken. Both Van der Stelt and the commissioning party are investigating various measures to keep the carbon emissions of this project at a minimum. “We are conversing with the water authority about how to reduce the carbon emissions of the transportation, loading and unloading of the sediment. This can be done by making use of new technologies. One of the concrete measures that we want to implement in this project is the use of cleaner fuels, such as HVO. This initiative is supported by the water authority.” HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) is a synthetic diesel that is made of waste and residual flows, such as used frying oils and animal fats, but it can also be made out of wood pulp. In contrast to fossil fuels such as diesel, the use of HVO can lead to 89 percent CO2 savings.

CO2 reduction throughout the whole organisation

Next to the implementation of CO2 reduction measures in its projects, Van der Stelt also takes measures to cut back carbon emissions within their organisation. Examples of the measures taken are the use of LED lighting, the installation of solar panels, but also stimulating behavioral change such as efficient driving measures to save fuel. In order to stimulate behavioral change, the company arranges trainings for its drivers to become more aware of the consequences of carbon emissions in the atmosphere and how to drive more efficiently. The driving behavior is then monitored and at the end of the month, the drivers receive an overview to improve their driving behavior if necessary. These measures have led to carbon savings of 2,6 percent in 2017. The company has the goal to reduce 15 percent of its carbon emissions in the period of 2015 until 2020. To achieve this objective, Van der Stelt is looking into alternative fuels such as HVO and hydrogen fuel. The use of alternative fuels will help the company cut back most of its carbon emissions, because 97 percent of the CO2 resulting from its activities are caused by diesel. Moreover, the transportation company is looking for ways to reduce CO2 during the loading and unloading of the goods during transportation.

The CO2 Performance Ladder as a catalyst for continuous CO2 reduction

Rademaker: “Before the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder, Van der Stelt was already taking measures to cut back CO2 emissions, but there was less urgency for these initiatives. Thanks to the Ladder, we now have a control mechanism for our ambitions to structurally reduce CO2 and we are becoming more and more aware of carbon emissions within the company and within our projects. Next to that, the CO2 Performance Ladder contributes to the relevance of discussions to reduce CO2. With this, the importance of carbon emissions reduction is spread through the entire organisation.”

The manager of operations expects that other sectors will follow the example of Van der Stelt and implement the CO2 Performance Ladder. “Within business sectors such as agriculture, sustainability is gaining more importance. This is essential for our business. If the agricultural sector makes its demands for less environmental impacts more explicit in its projects, then we can contribute to a more sustainable sector through our products and services. Also with the development of  cleaner fuels such as HVO and hydrogen fuel, our company can help other sectors achieve their sustainability goals. This is why sustainability and CO2 reduction is essential to Van der Stelt. It gives us a competitive advantage. And the CO2 Performance Ladder helps us achieve the desired results.”