CO2 Performance ladder certification


Reducing energy consumption based on fossil fuels and applying and further developing alternative, renewable energy sources dominates the social and political agenda at international level. This also applies to the related theme of CO2 emissions and their reduction, which is part of the broader issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 

From this point of view, public authorities, NGOs, industry and other interested parties have been developing initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions in concrete terms for some time. The development of the CO2 Performance Ladder standard as a practically applicable CO2 management system is a prominent example of such an initiative. 


In 2009, ProRail developed and introduced the CO2 Performance Ladder standard as an initiative for concrete sustainability and a distinctive instrument for procurement, with a fictitious award advantage of up to 10 % for certified contractors. In 2015, the current version of the CO2 Performance Ladder came into force. This version is a further development based on new insights into practical aspects regarding energy saving, CO2 reduction and the use of sustainable energy. 


The CO2 Performance Ladder has five increasing levels in which insight into CO2 emissions, concrete measures for CO2 reduction, transparency about CO2 policy and active participation in CO2 reduction initiatives are at the core. 

The first three levels of the standard relate primarily to the CO2 household and reduction targets of the own organisation. 

At level 4, innovation and active contributions to CO2 reduction in the chain form additional aspects. 

At level 5, the focus is on achieving reduction targets through cooperation within the sector, and realizing concrete adjustments in the own organisation in the field of procurement, supply programs and/or primary processes. 


The methodology of the CO2 Performance Ladder management system standard is generic. This means the methodology can be applied to any type of organisation, both in the Netherlands and internationally, regardless of the size, number of employees, the sector in which the organisation operates or the nature of the (primary) activities, such as profit, non-profit or government. 


What does this certification process look like? The certification process of the CO2 Performance Ladder follows the pattern of other generic management system standards. This pattern is based on an implementation methodology in a fixed cycle of 3 years. After a preliminary and review audit, also called Phase 1 and Phase 2 audit or certification audit, we will audit the certified organisation annually in the interim, specifically referred to by this standard as the annual ladder assessment. Thus, we can determine whether the standard requirements are met continuously. These audits are called surveillance audits. At the end of the cycle, the certified organisation can start a new cycle of 3 years, again starting with a certification audit. 

Would you like to receive more detailed information about the practice of this certification? Take a look at our brochure Het Certificatieproces (The Certification Process).  


An organisation can use the CO2 Performance ladder standard as a stand-alone management system, but combinations with other management system standards are also possible, such as with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environmental) or ISO 50001 (energy management).