What is the ladder

The CO2 Performance Ladder is an instrument that helps organizations reduce their carbon emissions in the organization, in projects and in the business sector. With a certificate on the Ladder, organizations can receive an award advantage for their registration on tenders. The instrument is used as both a CO2 management system as well as a procurement tool.

Organizations that obtain a certificate on the Ladder will experience this as an investment that is immediately returned in terms of low energy costs, material savings and innovations. The ladder’s main objective is to stimulate organizations to gain insights in their CO2 emissions, and to continuously seek opportunities to cut back these emissions in the organization and consequently within projects.

The CO2 Performance Ladder was originally developed by the Dutch railway concern ProRail in 2009. Since 2011 the system is owned and managed by the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO).

The ladder systematics in short

The CO2 Performance Ladder is a CO2 management system that consists of 5 levels. Up till level 3, an organization that obtains a certificate on the ladder reduces its own carbon emissions within the organization and all its projects. From level 4 and 5, the organization also aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the business chain and sector. An organization that is certified on a certain level (and all previous levels) adheres to the requirements of the CO2 Performance Ladder. These requirements are based on four angles, namely:

  1. Insight: To determine different streams of energy and the carbon footprint of the organization.
  2. Reduction: To develop ambitious goals for the reduction of CO2 emissions.
  3. Transparency: To structurally communicate about organization policies of CO2 reduction.
  4. Participation: To take part of business sector initiatives with regards to the reduction of carbon emissions. 

Each organization certified on the ladder will be subject to annual audits performed by independent and accredited Certifying Institutions (CI). Through these audits, a certified organization ensures the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder in its management and projects. Furthermore, the certified organizations will be evaluated annually for their ambitions and initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, and continuous improvement. The Ladder encourages certified organizations to remain ambitious in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Award advantage in tenders

Certified organizations receive a fictitious discount on the registration costs of tenders. With a certificate on the Ladder, organizations are rewarded with a concrete award advantage during the tendering process. The higher the level an organization has on the CO2 Performance Ladder, the higher the award advantage. The commissioning party decides the award advantage an organization can receive on each level of the Ladder.


Want to have all the information in one short overview? Download our CO2 Performance Ladder Essentials Document here.