Evaluation CO2 Performance Ladder for marine contractors stimulates cooperation

The Dredging and Offshore Industry Association, the department of waterways and public works (Rijkswaterstaat) and the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO) have evaluated the use of the CO2 Performance Ladder in the hydraulic engineering industry. It shows the hydraulic engineering industry performing well in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, but based on the evaluation involved parties do see ample opportunity to further improve use of the ladder.

The three organisations decided to let Martijn Rietbergen from Utrecht University carry out an evaluation, as they regularly discuss the utility and need of the CO2 Performance Ladder. The central question is how the industry can make better of use of this sustainability instrument, which helps companies reduce their CO2 output, and what the obstacles are.

Evaluation outcomes

Forty hydraulic engineering companies are certified with the Performance Ladder. The tentative conclusion is that CO2 intensity drops by 3.5% per year. The CO2 intensity is emission offset against revenue.

Another important insight gained from the evaluation is that chain cooperation between Rijkswaterstaat and marine contractors can be made more effective. The impact of initiatives, programmes and reduction schemes - even those with government - on CO2 emissions could be better.

The research also revealed that emissions in the chain (so-called scope 3 emissions) are at least equal in scope to emissions within company limits (scope 1 and 2). For example, scope 3 emissions involve CO2 emissions produced by steel production for ships or concrete for dams. Scope 1 and 2 comprise CO2 outputs produced by fuels of the ships and vehicles owned by the company. The scope 3 emissions are therefore more relevant than expected.

A part of the examined companies question the impact on actual CO2 output of steps 4 and 5, which relates to scope 3 emissions, even if these companies support the goals of these steps. They indicate being able to meet the requirements of these steps adequately, but that they find the reporting requirements an administrative burden.

How to continue?

At a project level, companies want to compete more on sustainability during the tendering stage. SKAO, Rijkswaterstaat and the Dredging and Offshore Industry Association have therefore been working together for a year-and-a-half to increase distinctive features for projects.

"The strength of this evaluation lies in that it was a genuine collaborative effort to gain a better insight into the utility and need of the CO2 Performance Ladder", says Wim Anemaat, Rijkswaterstaat director. "The research presents a solid foundation to further develop the instrument together with the market and SKAO."

Gijs Termeer (SKAO): "The evaluation was a dialogue in itself, so that alone is added value and a great insight. The collective evaluation is a solid evidence base for future dialogue."

"The research has contributed to dialogue about an improved chain cooperation between clients and contractors. In addition, we see ample short-term opportunities for decreasing the ladders administrative burden. And these are all remarkably positive outcomes. We will continue this constructive, positive collaboration with SKAO and Rijkswaterstaat and together we will focus on implementing CO2 reductions and a broader sustainability into projects", says Edwin Lokkerbol from the Dredging and Offshore Industry Association.

For example, Rijkswaterstaat will examine together with marine contractors how to more effectively fulfil its role in chain cooperation. SKAO will also be meeting with the Dredging and Offshore Industry Association and any other interested parties about the administrative burden of specific requirements in steps 4 and 5.