Towards sustainability

After more than two years of implementing our sustainability strategy in alignment with the Dutch ‘CO2 Performance ladder’ tool, we have gained insight in how to effectively reduce our carbon emissions and lead our clients to sustainable solutions.

In the Netherlands, the ‘CO2 Performance ladder’ tool, managed by the Independent Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO), helps businesses in reducing their carbon emissions. We have adopted this tool to implement our sustainability policy and to support our clients in the local market towards ‘greener’ solutions. This has resulted in the CO2 Awareness cerificate at level 5, the highest level.

Office and Business Carbon management

Own emissions are attributed to different scopes. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions of our organisation, scope 2 emissions are indirect and scope 3 are other indirect emissions. Downstream scope 3 concern emissions by production or construction of projects where we act as consultant.

After an initial increase in 2015 of 4,6% in scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per employee compared to 2014, our performance in carbon reduction has stabilised in 2016 (+0,4%). We were able to reduce our carbon emissions from air travel. But due to an internal moving to more m2 per employee our electricity use has gone up. The goal for this year is to transition the energy type of our buildings to wind energy to meet the original target set (-7% to base year 2014). The emissions due to commuting of our staff has been reduced by 17% in the last 2 years and by 5% in comparison to 2015. This is more than the original target for scope 3, a reduction of 7% compared to base year 2014. Hence the total CO2 emissions within scope 1+2+3 has fallen by 2% to 3,47tCO2/employee/year.

The Arup Global CO2 target is 3.0 tCO2/employee/year for scope 1, 2 and 3 in 2019.

Shaping a better world

We are committed to delivering sustainable solutions and considering the wider impact of our consultancy work and the full life-cycle of our projects. As part of this policy we joined several sustainable partnerships. Arup is a member of the Sustainability Committee TC1 of the Dutch Steel Association, and participant of the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC).

Globally, Arup aims to provide clients with holistic solutions based on multi-disciplinary approaches that are most appropriate to their requirements. To best assess how to reduce our carbon emissions down-stream, our strategy is to first identify the critical aspects to the sustainability performance of our projects. The critical sectors in our scope 3 analysis such as mobility and buildings are published on the website of SKAO. It is our goal to be involved in projects with ambitious sustainability targets, which often requiring innovative solutions.

In the past year we have worked on at least 4 sustainable projects within our infrastructure department. As part of  the renovation of eight steel bridges for Rijkswaterstaat, this year we helped with the renovation of two projects. Renovation of the existing bridges saves production of new material and therefor CO2 and prevents a large amount of waste.

Together with Rijkswaterstaat the infra department is engaged with the sustainable procurement of the new A16 in the field of energy and materials. Our refined lighting design for the Central Axis in Friesland provides considerable energy savings and prevents light pollution.

This year four highly sustainable buildings were completed, where our design services delivered high energy efficiency: Energy Academy Europe, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Museum Voorlinden and SintLucas in Eindhoven. Our current projects offer very interesting possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions, such as the 73 metre high timber residential tower Haut.

A full commitment to risk evaluation and communication with our clients and project partners is key. We are committed to constant improvement of our quality related to skills, knowledge and process management in order to maximise the benefit for our clients from our expertise.

Driving change

As a result of increasing insight, we encourage our engineers and consultants to grow our knowledge capital and position ourselves where a maximum of positive influence is possible. Actions such as in-house research or partnerships with academic and industry partners are in constant flow.

As pioneer in sustainable technology we joined the innovation consortium for the realisation of the Dutch Wind Wheel. This 174-meter high building will be an icon of sustainability for Rotterdam; a true game changer for sustainable development. With our multidisciplinary team, we are examining how the ambitions for sustainability can be translated into a building through the application of advanced and efficient technological solutions.

Arup is also contributing on a larger scale by actively participating in a European research program on sustainable area, Ecodistr ICT.

Our transport planning team works to improve infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. Despite the great share of cycling in the urban mobility in the Netherlands, little is known about the real behaviour and route choice of cyclists. In major cities, cyclist traffic jams occur frequently. The purpose of this research is to measure and quantify design parameters that are so far lacking in current models.

Downloadable documents


    • Logo CO2 Performance Ladder
    • HAUT is the highest wooden residential building in the world to date and is to receive the BREEAM Outstanding label, the highest possible sustainability score.

    • Palace Bridge. Credit: Jannes Linders

      The park on the Palace Bridge connects nature with the built environment.

    • CO2 footprint Arup bv 2016.Open gallery

      Carbon footprint Arup in the Netherlands 2016.