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Arup to reach highest level of the ‘CO2 prestatieladder’

Hester Duijndam, Arup Hester Duijndam Europe Press Office, Netherlands
12 July 2019

Our fundamental aim, as established in the Ove Arup Key Speech, is to serve society and deliver meaningful work for a more sustainable built environment. We recently committed ourselves to the 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs) by adjusting our businesses and doing research on how we can connect with the Paris climate agreement.

In 2017 we participated during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven with ‘People’s Pavilion’. People's Pavilion was the meeting place for creative thinkers and designers from around the world. Visitors had nine days of free access to meet-ups, presentations, performances, meetings and music events. This temporary building consisted for 100% of borrowed materials. The materials used were returned undamaged to their owners after the event.

People's Pavilion People's Pavilion

Arup services consisted of structural engineering and sustainable building design and led to this radically new interpretation of circular construction. And with that, a new future for sustainable buildings. The big challenge for Arup was to develop a dismountable connection between the elements, without damaging these elements, and at the same time guaranteeing safe and reliable use during the event.

A more recent award-winning (Dutch Design Award, Public award ARC19) project is LocHal in Tilburg, a cultural destination that breathes life into this iconic industrial site. The new mix-used building is a hub for knowledge sharing, housing the Midden-Brabant library, co-working space and a host of local cultural hubs including an investment fund and a regional knowledge institute. Sustainable climate design and temperature control were one of the key challenges during the design stage of the LocHal.

In our research project Designing for urban childhoods, we explain how we can create healthier and more inclusive, resilient and competitive cities for all of us to live, work and grow up in. To showcase our thinking, we compiled 40 global case studies, 14 recommended interventions and 15 actions for city leaders, developers and investors and built environment professionals. We also contribute to the development of high quality sustainable infrastructure with our infrastructure project A16 Rotterdam. Arup advised RWS by promoting sustainable procurement, resulting in a successful bid which included an “energy positive tunnel”.

Another innovative approach of reducing carbon emissions, is the 74 metres high timber residential building HAUT, as well as the project Merwedekanaalzone in Utrecht where Arup contributes to the development of cities that are accessible, liveable and future fit for everyone.


A full commitment to positive outcome led design in close collaboration with our clients and project partners is key. We are committed to constantly improve our quality related skills, knowledge and process management to maximize the benefit for our clients.

We choose our projects consciously and where we can have the biggest impact.

Change inspires us

We live in an era where people more than ever rely on the knowledge of engineers and designers. They provide us the answers and have the solutions to our global challenges, like climate change, explosive growth of our population in cities and the scarcity of natural resources. At Arup we take responsibility in shaping a better world and take designing for a sustainable world very seriously. With our new insights on sustainable development, we stimulate designers and partners to enhance their knowledge and to position ourselves in the market to help influencing other parties. We therefor invest in research and seek collaboration with academics and commercial partners.

We also invest in the engineering branch by taking part in sustainable initiatives. Arup is a member of the sustainability committee TC1, initiated by Bouwen met Staal and we take part in the Green Deal - Duurzaam GWW 2.0. We also partner with the Ellen McArtur Foundation (world leader in circular economy) by sharing our knowledge, we are member of Circle economy, a social enterprise that promotes circularity and we have an intense collaboration with Madaster, a registry bureau for materials in the built environment. More recently we joined the co-creation initiative ‘Circular viaducts & Bridges’ setup by the Dutch Highways Agency and the Bouwcampus.

Towards Sustainable Development

Making sure that we have a sustainable future, it becomes more and more important to balance economic growth with the planetary boundaries without limiting the social needs of our society. At Arup we feel the responsibility to contribute in this transition. This also resonates in our mission statement 'Shaping a better world.'

It is only 5 years ago that we implemented a new sustainable development plan, based on the, CO2prestatieladder, a specific measuring tool used in the Netherlands and provided by the SKAO organisation. This resulted in the highest level certificate (level 5), being CO2 conscience.

We have it in our power to make our environment better, if we only would use that power. ”

Ove Arup Sir Ove Arup Founder
CO2 footprint chart CO2 footprint chart
Arup Amsterdam CO2 emissions scope and reduction targets 2020 after introducing a new Dutch “CO2 beleid” receiving our “CO2 prestatieladder” certificate.

Since using this tool, we have been able to lower our CO2 emission by 15% and broadened our project portfolio with sustainable outcomes.

Office and Business Carbon management

Our objective for the certification period 2018-2020 is to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% compared to reference year 2017 for air travel and commuting by fossil fuel cars. Making sure we achieve these objectives we are raising and encourage our people using digital communication tools like video conferencing, to avoid air travel. Furthermore, since January 2019 we have a new mobility plan that is helping us reducing our carbon emission too.

The new policy facilitates a carpool scheme for business travel with fully electric cars and promotes international business travel by train, where possible. Moreover, we encourage our people to use public transport for business travel and commuting and have provided everyone with a travel business card.

CO2 emissions chart CO2 emissions chart
Arup Amsterdam CO2 emissions and reduction strategies to obtaining the Dutch “CO2 prestatieladder” certificate level 5