Arcadis has been working to improve our living environment for more than a century – 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.
Arcadis wants to be a leader in the field of sustainability.
'We must do our best to prevent climate change. And ensure that we can respond to the consequences of a changing climate. Arcadis plays a leading role in this.’ FairClimateFund spoke with Elske de Jong, Manager Sustainable Operations and CSR at Arcadis.
It all started with a group of Dutch farmers who decided in 1888 to work together for the development of 'wild' land and the construction and maintenance of forests and soil improvement works. In 2020, the more than 2000 advisers, engineers and project managers of Arcadis still share the same passion as the farmers of 1888: improving the quality of life.
Sustainability and improving the quality of living are inextricably linked. Can you give examples of how Arcadis contributes to a sustainable environment?
'We achieve the greatest impact on sustainability through the projects we carry out for customers.' Good examples of this are Wonderwoods, a sustainable residential tower with room for 10,000 trees and shrubs and the redevelopment of the Driebergen - Zeist station, which strengthens the connection with the green environment and accessibility.
What does Arcadis itself do to reduce the climate footprint?
'More than ninety percent of our CO₂ footprint is determined by mobility: traveling by car, plane and train. As a company, we do everything we can to reduce CO₂ emissions in this regard. For example, in 2019 our last large office moved to a station location and every employee has an NS Business Card, which seventy percent of all employees use. We are also working on an app for employees to track their mobility that will reward sustainable travel behavior. These kinds of initiatives help enormously to further reduce the CO₂ footprint every year.
We also encourage the choice of a sustainable lease car with a bonus-malus system. Leaving all our lease cars out is not possible unfortunately, because we are running projects where we sometimes have to be present at night in locations where no trains run. In short: there are still challenges to reducing our CO₂ emissions as a result of our mobility.'
Arcadis is a climate-neutral company. Why do you opt for CO₂ compensation?
Compensation tends to be a commutation fee. That is why we did not want to compensate, at first, without implementing a good plan to reduce our own CO₂ emissions. We finally decided to compensate. On the one hand because the techniques do not yet exist to operate 100 percent climate-neutral in a healthy way as a business. On the other hand, because we are giving our CO₂ emissions a price. It encourages us as a company to look at CO₂ as a cost item. And with that we are making our business case for CO₂ reduction healthier.
Why did you choose to compensate with carbon credits from FairClimateFund?
With the money we pay for carbon credits from FairClimateFund, we can make a contribution to improving the living conditions of the people most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, both socially and economically. The Chulikaproject from FairClimateFund in India fits seamlessly with our passion: improving the living environment of people worldwide.