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Assessing the potential impact of the CO2 Performance Ladder on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the Netherlands

Rietbergen, Martijn G., Blok, Kornelis
Journal of cleaner production 2013 v.52 pp. 33-45
European Union, business enterprises, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide production, certification, energy, environmental impact, environmentally preferable purchasing, greenhouse gas emissions, Netherlands
Green public procurement is often promoted as a tool to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions in the supply chains of public entities. However, only a limited number of studies has quantitatively assessed the environmental impacts of green public procurement schemes. The aim of this paper was to assess the potential impact of the CO2 Performance Ladder on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the Netherlands. The CO2 Performance Ladder is a new green procurement scheme that is currently used by several Dutch public authorities. It is a staged certification scheme for energy and CO2 management. Achieving certification gives companies a competitive advantage in the contract awarding process. Currently, more than 190 companies participate in the scheme. The scheme accounts for 1.7 Mt of aggregate CO2 emissions, corresponding to nearly 1% of national greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. Since the introduction of the scheme, total CO2 emissions have decreased substantially. Nevertheless, these emission reductions should be interpreted with caution because the emission reductions are largely due to reductions by a few companies, and the level of emissions is affected to a large extent by economic activity. The companies participating in the scheme have set different types of CO2 reduction targets with varying levels of ambition. The projected impact of reaching these targets on CO2 emissions is a total CO2 emission reduction in the range of a 0.8–1.5%/yr, with a most likely value of 1.3%/yr. The CO2 Performance Ladder could therefore contribute significantly to achieve the annual reduction rate necessary to remain below the 2020 Dutch emission ceiling for sectors not included in the European Union Emission Trading Scheme.