The success of

The CO2 Performance Ladder

Over the last 15 years, the CO2 Performance Ladder has developed into a key Green Public Procurement (GPP) tool and the number one CO2 management system in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Due to increasing international interest, the Ladder is currently being implemented in Ireland, France and the UK, with other countries to follow. To support the implementation across Europe, we present these testimonials that highlight how international contracting authorities and companies work with the Ladder. They collect the lessons learned so far: what is needed to successfully implement the CO2 Performance Ladder, and what benefits does it bring?


The CO2 Performance Ladder

In practice


Making Amsterdam sustainable with the CO2 Performance Ladder

To prepare Amsterdam for major climactic changes the CO2 Performance Ladder is a guiding principle in Amsterdam’s public procurement. Amsterdam and its partners show us how they work with the Ladder.


TII’s experience with the CO2 Performance Ladder

Micheál O’Connor, Senior Procurement Executive at Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) talks about his experience implementing the Ladder into their procurement process.


Willemen Infra and the CO2 Performance Ladder

Franky Van den Berghe and Dirk Christianen from Willemen Infra show us around at their asphalt plant in Belgium. How does Willemen Infra reduce its carbon emissions by using the CO2 Performance Ladder?


The CO2 Performance Ladder


What is the CO2 Performance Ladder

The essentials in 4 minutes


How to use the CO2 Performance Ladder

An explanation in 10 minutes


10 reasons to get started

01.Power of procurement: effective carbon reduction

The CO2 Performance Ladder leads to accelerated decarbonisation and innovation thanks to the power of procurement. Research shows that organisations using the CO2 Performance Ladder reduce their carbon emissions twice as fast as average and that it leads to institutionalisation of carbon reduction and awareness and behavioural changes, as shown by research conducted by CE Delft and the University of Utrecht. The CO2 Performance Ladder is recognised as a best practice by the OECD, IPCC and the World Economic Forum.

02.Proven methodology

With 13+ years of implementation, the CO2 Performance Ladder is the standard Green Public Procurement (GPP) tool in the Netherlands and Belgium, and has proven its effectiveness. Over 300 public procuring authorities use the Ladder as a GPP tool, and around 5000 organisations are covered by a CO2 Performance Ladder certificate. 75% of certificate holders are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). During the 13+ year history of the CO2 Performance Ladder many useful resources and experiences have been developed, which can easily be adapted and reapplied.


The CO2 Performance Ladder is user-friendly, with low transaction costs to get started for organisations looking to get certified. Documents like the practical guide and articles highlighting certificate holders give insight into the process and possibilities. SKAO and partners provide a helpdesk for (current and future) certificate holders. Implementing the CO2 Performance Ladder is easy for contracting authorities as they only need to check the certificate, once the building blocks for a pilot have been established. Third party certification lowers the burden on procurement authorities to verify claims. Documents like the procurement guide with accessible steps to start purchasing with the CO2 Performance Ladder, project cases and model clauses (in Belgium) further facilitate implementation for procuring authorities.

04.Cascading effects of certification

The impact of market initiatives started by certified companies to meet collaboration requirements included in the CO2 Performance Ladder handbook, and the impact of certified companies on their supply chain partners accelerates reductions, increasing impact. For instance, the Ladder requires organisations certified at levels 4 and 5 to engage with their supply chain to develop additional CO2 reduction measures in their sector.

05.Multi-use certificate

One certificate can be used for all tenders for all contracting authorities using the Ladder in their procurement. Whether local, regional, national or international.

06.Compliant with the EU Procurement Directive

The CO2 Performance Ladder is immediately applicable in other EU countries due to its compliance with the 2014 EU Procurement Directive.

07.Green business case

The CO2 Performance Ladder helps strengthen businesses’ green business case, by granting them a financial award advantage in tenders based on their CO2 reduction ambition. This fictitious discount (or points bonus), in combination with the cost savings that are achieved through increased efficiency, more than cover the costs of certification, and motivate organisations to start structurally reducing their carbon emissions.

08.Third party certification and accreditation

Independent third party certification lowers the burden on procurement authorities to verify that companies comply to their requirements. Certifying institutions are required to be accredited by the relevant accreditation body.

09.Certification reinforces market position

Having a CO2 Performance Ladder certificate reinforces companies’ position in the market as sustainable suppliers, and helps to improve their products and services. The CO2 Performance Ladder stimulates and rewards organisations through giving them a competitive advantage.

10.Multistakeholder instrument

Since both private and public parties, along with academic experts and non-governmental environmental organisations are involved in the management and development of the CO2 Performance Ladder in the Netherlands, all organisations have a stake in the instrument, and feel ownership over it. This cooperative model helps to ensure the instrument is widely supported, therefore increasing its impact.


The importance of a

Solid foundation


Creating support in

Policy and the market


How to start with the CO2 Performance Ladder

In your country




The start of the CO2 Performance Ladder

The early initiators – Patrick Buck (ProRail), Jan Hendrik Dronkers (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) and Nico de Vries (Royal BAM Group) – reflect on the development of the Ladder. What are the key success factors and what is required to successfully implement the CO2 Performance Ladder?

Can we help you to get started?

George ThurleyGet in touch