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System certification: CO2 Performance Ladder


System certification?

Management systems aim for continuous improvement. They help companies to achieve set targets within a specific area. This means that the company must have continuous, repetitive processes focused on improvement. Management systems are built according to the “Deming circle” or “Plan-Do-Check-Act” cycle (PDCA).

A management system certificate shows that a company is able to systematically manage and improve risks and performance in function of the targets set. It shows the outside world that the company has a working management system and is striving for continuous improvement.

CO2 Performance Ladder? 

Logo CO2 Prestatieladder

The CO2 Performance Ladder is a CO2 management system. It stimulates companies to structurally reduce CO2 emissions in business operations, in projects and in the supply chain.

The best performing system was developed in 2009 in the Netherlands by ProRail. Since 2011 it has been owned and managed by the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO – The “Handbook CO2 Performance Ladder” is a Dutch sustainability tool that helps companies reduce CO2 emissions in business operations, projects and in the chain. In the Netherlands it is used as an instrument for tendering and enforcement.

The CO2 Performance Ladder focuses mainly on energy savings, the efficient use of materials and the use of sustainable energy.

In the Netherlands, the CO2 Performance Ladder has resulted in up to 1.5% extra CO2 reductions per year for participating companies.

Due to the success story of the CO2 Performance Ladder in the Netherlands, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments decided in 2019 to test the CO2 performance ladder until 2022 on some twenty large public contracts in the construction sector. Companies that reduce their CO2 emissions have a greater chance of winning public contracts in the future. The CO2 Performance Ladder will be used to stimulate CO2 reductions in the construction sector.


The CO2 Performance Ladder consists of 5 levels, increasing from 1 to 5. To achieve a certain level, the company 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.


CO2 prestatieladder


The position of the company on this ladder is determined by the highest level at which the company 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 procedure? 

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


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  • the holder of the certification marksCOPRO(.EXE) logo:
    • COPRO for building products
    • COPRO.EXE for execution
    • NTMB for ecological and technical-natural materials NTMB Zorgsysteem
  • accredited by BELAC as inspection body (nr. 107-INSP), as products certification body (nr. 107-PROD) and as certification body for quality systems (nr. 107-QMS), BELAC 107 INSP BELAC 107 PROD BELAC 107 INSP - more information :
  • notified by Europe for CE-marking as notified body nr. 1137Logo CE-marking - more information :
  • recognised by NBN as sector operatorLogo NBN - more information :
  • recognised by BENOR npo as sector bodyLogo Benor - more information :
  • VLAREL certified by OVAM for the sampling of building materials and asbestos in heaps VLAREL - more information :
  • recognised by BUtgb as mandated certification instituteBUtgb - more information:
  • recognised by SKAO as a certificate body for the system certification of the CO2 Performance Ladder - more info:     Logo CO2 Prestatieladder