PosadMaxwan obtains 1200th certificate for the CO2 Performance Ladder

During the event of the Ministry of Economic Affairs on January 27, urban planners PosadMaxwan were awarded the 1200th certificate for the CO2 Performance Ladder. "We are of course very proud of that," says Shirley Voermans, CO2 Project Leader and office manager and associate at the company. She and Froukje van de Klundert, designer and associate, talk about the role of the CO2 Performance Ladder in PosadMaxwan's sustainability goals and activities.

Sustainable urban planners
Froukje: 'We are an urban design agency. We do both strategic projects and operational ones. We like to work on projects where sustainability is of paramount importance and where we are invited to think innovatively to solve the complex puzzle of the climate transition and the energy transition. This is how we work on sustainable cities.' Froukje mentions the new Lincolnpark district in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands as an example. She explains: 'We have drawn up the urban plan for this energy-neutral district. We are in charge of how the buildings and public space should look  and how sustainability ambitions are realised.'

Research into circular materials
‘The entire district will be energy neutral, walking and cycling will be more attractive in this district than driving and we will ensure that materials with a low ecological footprint, such as wood or recycled materials, are used.” The company will also start researching circular materials. Froukje: 'What materials are available, how can you use them and, above all, what is their impact? We put this in a database and with that information available we can make our proposals and designs more and more sustainable in the future.'

Profitable introduction to the CO2 Performance Ladder
Sustainability is in our company's DNA, says Shirley: 'At the kitchen table during lunch we like to discuss how we can be even more sustainable personally and as a company. This also raised the question of how we could formalise our sustainability ambitions and thus raise our profile .” In answer to that question, PosadMaxwan opted for the CO2 Performance Ladder, after a tender from the province of Noord-Holland informed the company about the existence of the CO2 Performance Ladder. It was a profitable introduction, because PosadMaxwan also won the tender in collaboration with other parties. Froukje: 'With the CO2 Performance Ladder we can show that we are serious about reducing CO2 and that we also pay attention to this in our projects.'

One third less CO2 in five years
During the certification process, the urban planners set themselves the goal of working from 25 tons of CO2 emissions in 2019 to 16 tons of CO2 emissions in 2024, or a 33.3% CO2 reduction in five years. Shirley explains: 'Our biggest emissions are from the use of district heating. Reducing this is a challenge, because our office is located in a multi-company building, and until now an average consumption per m2 has been used. We will therefore first have to find out our actual consumption, before we can show that we may be using less. Fortunately, that is possible, we are working on installing smart meters.'

From public transport to vegan lunch
Other measures that PosadMaxwan is taking include doing all business travel by public transport, unless a place is very difficult to reach: then electric shared cars are used. “And our lunch is now completely vegan!” Shirley says cheerfully. It's her favourite measure. It is indicative of the company's sustainability awareness: the idea to omit dairy in addition to meat came from the employees themselves. The other measures that PosadMaxwan is taking for the CO2 Performance Ladder are also supported across the company. “We are not shy about initiatives,” says Shirley. "Now the implementation in practice."

However, it does not stop with measures relating to its own business operations, because the company is certified at level 4, which means that scope 3 emissions are also included. But what are the scope 3 emissions of an urban development company? Shirley: 'We really had to scratch our heads for that, because we don't produce a product and our activities are very diverse. But we have decided to consider the CO2 released during the life cycle of building materials used by our clients as our scope 3 emissions. After all, as designers, we have influence on which building materials will be used for a project.'

Shadow costs of materials
Froukje: 'Our supply chain analysis was a study into the shadow costs of the various materials. These are the costs of a building, product or project on the environment – expressed in a monetary value. Now we can provide future-proof advice: which materials have the least CO2 emissions during their life cycle? Which options are there and which option can we best recommend to our clients  in a certain situation? We hope that contractors and project developers will make a more informed choice and not only consider construction costs. In the near future, we will provide our design proposals with this advice as much as possible.' 

The Future
Froukje: 'Among urban planners, we see ourselves as forerunners in the energy and climate transition. We want to continue to play that role, although it is of course also good news that more and more similar companies are willing to commit themselves to this. In any case, we will continue to make efforts to convert complex issues into proposals that can be clearly understood, so that we help clients make sustainable choices.' And obtaining a level 5 certificate? Based on what we know of the company, it certainly could. “We always want to improve ourselves,” said Shirley. But first, all efforts are focused on the measures themselves.