Arcadis wants to be a leader in the field of sustainability

Arcadis wants to be a leader in the field of sustainability

Blog
23 May 2018

For more than a century, Arcadis has been working to improve our living environment – ​​in the Netherlands and worldwide in more than 70 countries. A living environment that is increasingly under pressure due to, among other things, climate change. FairClimateFund spoke with Elske de Jong, Sustainability Leader at Arcadis.

We must do our utmost to combat climate change. And ensure that we can respond to the consequences of a changing climate. Arcadis takes a leading role in this.

elske-arcadis

It all started with a group of Dutch farmers who decided in 1888 to work together to reclaim ‘waste’ land and create and maintain forests and soil improvement works. In 2018, Arcadis’ 27,000 advisors, engineers and project managers still share the same passion as the farmers from 1888: improving the quality of life.

Sustainability and improving the quality of life are inextricably linked. Can you give examples of how Arcadis contributes to a sustainable living environment?
‘We achieve the greatest impact on sustainability through the projects we carry out for customers. A good example is Rijkswaterstaat’s Hoevelaken Junction project. With this project, Rijkswaterstaat not only wants a better flow of traffic around the Hoevelaken junction and adjacent roads, but also an improvement in the quality of the living environment. The project had a long list of wishes from all authorities, residents and interest groups involved, but only a small budget. Together with BAM and Van Oord, our partners in this project, we have managed to fulfill most wishes in a sustainable manner. With just one percent of the total investment costs of the project, energy consumption at the Hoevelaken junction could be reduced to zero. This includes energy used for lighting and matrix boards. We jointly decided to install solar panels in the cloverleaves that can supply the required energy for the junction.

Another good example is the renovation of Eindhoven station. By actively encouraging our customer to include sustainability and claiming an SDE+ subsidy for sustainable energy supply, we have managed to make the project, including sustainability measures such as a large solar light wall, economically feasible.’

What is Arcadis itself doing to reduce its climate footprint?
‘Arcadis wants to be a leader in the field of sustainability. For example, we want to reduce our CO₂ emissions by four percent annually. That is more than twice as much as most of our competitive agencies. In 2020, we want to emit forty percent less CO₂ per FTE compared to 2010. That is ambitious, but it looks like we will achieve that target. We have already achieved a 32 percent saving compared to 2010. We have already achieved a 32 percent saving compared to 2010.

What will Arcadis focus on in the coming years when it comes to CO₂ savings?
‘Our CO₂ footprint is determined for more than ninety percent by our mobility: traveling by car, plane and train. As a company, we do everything we can to reduce our CO₂ emissions in this regard, but that is not always easy. For example, every Arcadis employee has an NS Business Card and seventy percent of all employees use it. You can of course wonder whether that percentage is too low, or whether it is already sufficient? I still see room for improvement here. We also encourage the choice of a sustainable lease car using a bonus-malus system. Unfortunately, it is not possible to sell all our lease cars because we work on projects that sometimes require us to be present at night at locations where trains are no longer running. In short: there are still plenty of challenges to reduce our CO₂ emissions as a result of our mobility.’

Arcadis is a climate neutral company. Why do you choose CO₂ compensation?
‘Compensation tends towards redemption. That is why we initially did not want to compensate without a good plan being implemented to reduce our own CO₂ emissions. We ultimately decided to compensate anyway. On the one hand, because the techniques do not yet exist for a company to operate 100 percent climate neutral in a healthy manner. On the other hand, because we put a price on our CO₂ emissions and are therefore climate neutral. It encourages us as a company to look at CO₂ as a cost item. And in doing so we make our business case for CO₂ reduction healthier.”

What was the deciding factor in choosing carbon credits from the FairClimateFund?
‘With the money we pay for carbon credits from FairClimateFund, we can contribute to improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable to climate change. Both socially and economically. FairClimateFund’s Chulika project in India fits in seamlessly with our passion: improving the living environment of people worldwide.’