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‘The CO2 Performance Ladder has increased awareness of sustainability’

Last year, construction company Eiffage Benelux certified for Level 3 on the CO2 Performance Ladder. With this achievement, Eiffage Benelux is one of the frontrunners in sustainable construction in Belgium.

Making a difference through sustainable development

Eiffage Benelux is part of the Eiffage Group and  is a specialist in buildings, civil engineering, property promotion, hydraulic and environmental works, joinery and industrial works. Making a difference through sustainable development has always been one of the Eiffage Group's focal points.

The Eiffage Group applies the European guidelines for companies reporting climate-related information, and follows the 2°C trajectory adopted by the Paris Agreement in 2015. Its first climate report was published in April 2020, outlining the Group's low-carbon action plan, with measurable targets to reduce its carbon footprint within a specific time period. It also highlights the Group's 'climate-compatible' activities with a view to accelerating the low-carbon transition of its business units.

A cultural shift in the short term

Commenting on the decision to specifically certify Eiffage Benelux on the CO2 Performance Ladder, Giovanni Vandenborre, managing director Vuylsteke-Eiffage said: "Some branches of Eiffage Benelux were already certified on the CO2 Performance Ladder, and because of the very low-threshold approach, it was decided to certify all branches to at least Level 3. In a relatively short period of time, this allowed a baseline measurement and a carbon footprint to be calculated. The general introduction of the certificate in all branches of Eiffage Benelux meant that a cultural change could be made in the short term."

To obtain its certificates, Eiffage Benelux introduced a large package of measures. One of the most important measures was to switch to green electricity by all branches from 2022. Certainly not an obvious choice given the current energy crisis.

To make the car fleet more sustainable, electric charging stations were already installed in all parking areas. And meanwhile, the first cars with combustion engines’ were also replaced by fully electric vehicles. Finally, every Eiffage Benelux building was subjected to an energy audit.

Short sustainability sessions

To ensure internal sustainability awareness within the organisation, Eiffage Benelux has formed a working group to which each branch delegates an expert. With this working group, various indicators are monitored, action plans are forged and information is shared. News is also shared on Facebook, LinkedIn and Whatsapp. However, the biggest impact is made through the monthly 'short sustainable sessions', held in all branches and with all employees. Each month, a different sustainability theme is discussed.

Increased awareness

What has the Ladder done for the organisation in terms of energy savings and CO2 reduction? Vandenborre: "The Ladder has mainly increased sustainable awareness. The Ladder is a useful tool for Eiffage Benelux to keep an overview of the direction and efforts needed to achieve our strategic goals."

Vandenborre continues: "To measure is to know and by monitoring our company's carbon footprint, opportunities and areas for improvement are highlighted. This greater awareness also results in energy savings. After all, the cheapest energy is that which is not consumed! In addition, we are now moving faster towards greener alternatives for fuel and energy."

Using the Ladder has also ensured that Eiffage Benelux has won tenders in the past. For example, its subsidiary Herbosch-Kiere, which carried out the Oosterscheldekering project in 2019 with award advantage partly thanks to the deployment of the Ladder. Vandenborre: "Besides the award advantage that the CO2 Performance Ladder can provide, applying the Ladder is a useful tool for more climate-conscious business operations. The different levels of the Ladder make it possible for a company to start working on CO2 reduction at its own pace, thus stimulating the transition towards sustainability."