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System certification: CO2 Performance Ladder

co2 uitstoot


The CO2 Performance ladder manual and logo are owned and managed by the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO).

Logo CO2 Prestatieladder



The "Handbook CO2 Performance Ladder" is a Dutch sustainability instrument that helps organisations to reduce CO2 in their business operations, projects and supply chain. In the Netherlands, it is used as a tendering instrument and for enforcement.

The COPerformance ladder is a COmanagement system that stimulates organisations to reduce CO2 in a structural way, within the organisation, in projects and in the supply chain. By cooperating and innovating throughout the chain, organisations can achieve their objectives. Like other management systems, the CO2 Performance Ladder requires: continuous improvement of insight, further CO2 reduction measures, communication and cooperation within the organisation.

The CO2 Performance Ladder is mainly concerned with energy saving, CO2 reduction, the efficient use of materials and the use of sustainable energy.

In the Netherlands, the CO2 Performance Ladder has led to 1.5% extra CO2 reductions per year for the participating organisations.

Due to the success story of the COPerformanceladder in the Netherlands, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments decided in 2019 to test the COPerformanceladder until 2022 in about 20 large public contracts in the construction sector. Those organisations that reduce their CO2 emissions would have a greater chance of winning public contracts in the future. The COPerformance Ladder can be used to stimulate CO2 reductions in the construction sector.


In the first place, the system is intended for organisations in the constrcution or hydraulic engineering sector that compete for public tenders. But the CO2 Performance Ladder is also interesting for organisations that want to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions and show this to the outside world.


The CO2 Performance Ladder consists of 5 levels, increasing from 1 to 5. To achieve a certain level, the organisation and its projects must meet the set requirements.

Levels 1 to 3 relate to the emissions and energy in the organisation itself and all projects.

At levels 4 and 5, in addition to the emissions and energy in the organisation itself, emissions and energy in the chain and sector are also taken into account and work is done on innovation (projects).

The requirements per level are based on 4 aspects, each with its own weighting factor:

  • Insight into energy flows and the CO2 footprint;
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions by developing targets;
  • Transparency by communicating about CO2 policy;
  • Participation via initiatives in the sector.


The position of the organisation on this ladder is determined by the highest level at which the organisation meets all requirements. The level achieved partly determines the awarding advantage in the tendering process.

The requirements of the CO2 Performance Ladder are contained in the Handbook CO2-Prestatieladder of the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO).

Certification process

The certification process proceeds like all other management system standards and consists of a fixed 3-year cycle. To start, an initial ladder assessment consisting of phase 1 (preliminary investigation) and phase 2 (assessment investigation) is conducted. After a successful initial ladder assessment, the company receives a “CO2 aware” certificate. Certified companies will then receive an annual ladder assessment or an initial ladder assessment if they want to increase in level. At the end of the cycle, a reassessment is performed and a new 3-year cycle can start.

Certification guarantees the efficient functioning of the CO2 management system for the organisation and its projects through annual assessments of ambition, reduction and continuous improvement.


The CO2 Aware Certificate is valid for 3 years and is registered on the website of the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business ( It states the level achieved and the sites to which the certificate relates.

COPRO is recognised by SKAO as a certificate body for the system certification of the CO2 Performance Ladder.


The CO2 Aware Certificate can result in the following benefits for the certificate holder:

  • An awarding advantage for public contracts
  • Improvements in products and services through innovation
  • A sustainable image
  • CO2 and energy reductions

Role of COPRO

COPRO is a Belgian certification body that can guide Belgian organisations in this process.


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Watch the video from SKAO how to obtain the CO2-Performance ladder certificate.