‘Sustainability score infraprojects’; a quality mark for the infrastructure sector

The infrastructure sector has great ambitions when it comes to making projects more sustainable. for this ambition it is crucial to make the distinction between more and less sustainable projects. Nowadays, in many sectors solid measuring methods have been developed to map sustainability aspects. However, the infrasector does not yet have a quality mark for a broad, integrated sustainability implementation at project level. An exploratory study conducted by Nyenrode Business Universiteit on behalf of Dura Vermeer Infra BV has resulted in a proposal for the content, feasibility and requirements to create a quality mark for infrastructure projects. 

The study has resulted in the Sustainability Score Infraprojects, a quality mark especially for the infrasector. It describes the scope of sustainability of infraprojects and how it can be made measurable. The score provides quick insights into the degree of sustainability of an infraproject.

Sustainability of the construction sector

The Dutch construction sector is ahead of its curve when it comes to the goal of climate neutral and circular building by 2030. In 2020, there already are many activities that contribute to sustainability, and it is important to acknowledge what is happening already. It is important to measure how sustainable these construction projects already are and what the ultimate goal is. 

Clarity

The sustainability score is the only quality mark focused on civil engineering and projects, instead of on whole companies and branches. “The score gives clarity about what it means to be sustainable in the infrasector and which themes cover sustainability. In addition, the quality mark indicates to what extent an infraproject complies with sustainability requirements and offers guidelines for improvement”, explains André Nijhof, professor of Sustainable Business and Stewardship at Nyenrode Business Universiteit. 

Focus

The underlying principle of the quality mark is that what is measurable, can also be managed. “By focusing on all the components of the score, project managers provide an integral approach to make infraprojects more sustainable. Not only does this bring added value to the current projects, it also ensures multiple, future-proof value creation”, says Karlijn Mol-Korten, sustainability manager at Dura Vermeer’s Infra Division.

Implementation

“The use of the quality mark already begins with the contract phase because many requirements for the sustainability level of the project are determined in that stage. The quality mark is also very useful during project execution”, according to Mol. Nijhof adds: “It leads to added value for various parties, and also for society in general since the quality mark contributes to actual sustainability of infraprojects. Within the construction company itself, the added value comes with the possibility offered by the quality mark to determine a sustainability ‘floor’ and help getting employees on board with the sustainability ambitions of the company.

The quality mark will first be used for Dura Vermeer projects, to give insight into how sustainable the projects are. It is however the explicit intention for this quality mark to serve as a base for a sector wide quality mark, which can be used by all kinds of infrastructure companies and clients to measure and provide insight into the sustainability level of infraprojects.

For more information about the sustainability score for infraprojects, go to www.nyenrode.nl/duurzaamheidsscore. The entire research can be found here as well.