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Accelerating Decarbonization Through the Power of Procurement

This project supports the dissemination of the CO2 Performance Ladder, a tool for low-carbon procurement and carbon management. Widespread green public procurement with the CO2 Performance Ladder can speed up the decarbonization of companies, projects, and supply chains and help governments meet their climate commitments. 

The CO2 Performance Ladder is a CO2 management system that helps organizations reduce carbon emissions. It also functions as a procurement tool, as certified organizations can receive an award advantage in tenders. The CO2 Performance Ladder is managed by the Foundation for Climate Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO)

Together with IISD, SKAO seeks to expand the use of the instrument beyond the Netherlands and Belgium. Ultimately, the project aims to accelerate carbon emission reductions through green public procurement. This project, Accelerating Carbon Emissions Reduction Through the Power of Procurement by Dissemination of the CO2 Performance Ladder in Europe (CO2PLEU), is funded by the IKEA Foundation

In the first project phase, from 2021 to 2023, IISD supported SKAO in identifying European countries and stakeholders that could use the CO2 Performance Ladder. We engaged with procurement agencies, policy-makers, researchers, and suppliers to learn about the potential of scaling up the use of the CO2 Performance Ladder.  

The resulting feasibility study explores how the tool can be implemented in 10 European countries. It confirms that there is an opportunity to use the CO2 Performance Ladder across Europe, responding directly to the demand from public authorities for easy-to-use, practical tools to reduce carbon emissions. There is a demonstrated interest in tried-and-tested approaches to stimulate decarbonization through public procurement processes, as well as a marked demand for third-party verified certification systems. 

To respond to frequently asked questions and support legal certainty for scaling up the use of the tool, we also produced an explainer document for key legal considerations while using the CO2 Performance Ladder for public procurement.  

In the second project phase, which will take place until 2025, we will research the feasibility of the expansion of the CO2 Performance Ladder to countries outside of Europe. In addition, we will provide technical advice to pilot projects with the instrument in Ireland, France, the United Kingdom and other countries. In light of the growing interest in monitoring green public procurement, we will also conduct research about measuring the environmental outcomes of more sustainable purchasing practices. 

Project details

Public Procurement
Focus area