Sustainability is in the DNA of VenhoevenCS. Ever since Ton Venhoeven started the company in 1995, sustainability has been an important pillar of the design practice.
When he was 17 years old, the Club of Rome published a report called Limits to Growth (1972). It was one of the first publications that predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources. This report had a major impact on Tons thinking and his world view: it installed in him a belief that we all carry a responsibility, not only to each other and future generations of human beings, but also to all other beings and objects, both animate and inanimate.
Over the years, our thinking and practice have evolved – and are still evolving, under the influence of trial and error, new developments and insights, but also because of the ideas that are brought into the office by new team members. This continuing evolving of our vision on account of the sharing and absorbing of knowledge and new ideas, is part of the DNA of VenhoevenCS. Consequently, the ideas, goals and tools described in this document are not eternal and will develop over time. Therefore Sustainability@VenhoevenCS will be evaluated and updated regularly.
The aim of Sustainability@VenhoevenCS is to inspire, but foremost to show how VenhoevenCS thinks about sustainability and where we are coming from. It consists of basic principles and discerns the biggest environmental threats that we would like to focus on.
In 2007 the Rotterdam Climate Initiative was founded and in 2008 it launched Ik teken ervoor (“I sign for it”) , a campaign to encourage citizens and companies in Rotterdam sign up for CO2 reduction. Part of the campaign was a very accessible online tool to calculate your CO2 footprint.
VenhoevenCS used this tool to start calculating our carbon footprint in 2009. It was also the first time that we started to really think about the impact of our operations, based on the Trias Ecologica:
1. reduce emissions as much as possible;
2. enhance sustainability wherever possible; and
3. compensate all emissions you cannot avoid.
Our CO2 footprint between 2009-2012 was compensated according to the Gold Standard. On paper, VenhoevenCS was a climate-neutral company during that time.
In 2013 VenhoevenCS was hit by the financial and real estate crisis in The Netherlands and the compensation of emission was discontinued – and CO2 -reduction faded into the background. In 2015 we picked up the thread again. The direct motivation was one of our clients demanding a level 5 for the CO2 Performance Ladder. We set up and implemented a ‘General Energy Management Action Plan’ with SMART goals for reducing our CO2 footprint. It was rewarded with the highest certification level for the CO2 Performance Ladder. Our certificate and information about our scope 3 emissions and initiatives we are affiliated with can be found at the website of SKAO .
In 2016, the management team decided to set up a new quality management system: this gave us the opportunity to redevelop our vision on sustainability and integrate it into the new policies and procedures. We created a more holistic sustainability vision and translated that vision into clear goals and policy. This was rewarded with the ISO14001:2015 certification in 2017.
The sustainability goals of our operations are documented in our Sustainable Action Plan. It also describes how we would like to achieve those goals. We monitor our progress continuously through internal and external audits, evaluations and reviews.