Van Oord is a leading international contractor specialising in dredging, marine engineering and offshore projects (oil, gas and wind). We are an innovative partner for our clients and, for over one hundred years, have been helping to create the infrastructure for the world of tomorrow.
The growing world population needs more space and the demand for energy is continuously rising. Increasing world trade requires more and better port facilities and climate change is threatening coastal areas. Van Oord provides innovative solutions for these global maritime and coastal challenges, both now and in the future.
Sustainable entrepreneurship is an increasingly important item on Van Oord’s corporate agenda. Our people share not only a passion for water and technology, but also for developing and achieving sustainable solutions for our offshore projects. We are also a frequent participant in green marine engineering projects.
Building with Nature
The end of 2012 was also the end of our first period implementing Building with Nature, the Ecoshape Foundation’s innovation programme that combines the strengths of the Dutch marine contracting sector. Van Oord was one of the programme’s founders. Together with research institutes, market parties, universities and the government, we contributed to the creation of this programme. Building with Nature is mainly concerned with generating new applications based on the latest insights and technologies. The Sand Motor is a good example of the Building with Nature principle.
By working within the context of existing initiatives and projects, stakeholders become more closely involved and pilots get off to a quick start. Throughout the programme, the participants garnered a great deal of knowledge and experience of ecodynamic designs. This knowledge was incorporated, for example, in courses at higher educational institutions. Twenty-one candidates received their PhDs based on this programme.
We will be following up the Building with Nature programme with a second phase, in which Van Oord and a number of partners in the Building with Nature consortium (Ecoshape Foundation, Boskalis, Arcadis, Haskoning DHV, the North Sea Foundation and Wetlands International) will perform specific research into the carbon footprint left by a marine contracting project, from the drawing board to completion. As part of this phase, we will be looking into opportunities to increase CO2 absorption by the natural systems in which we execute projects.
Van Oord provides practical solutions for sustainable development challenges. Our engineers design methods that take account of the ecosystems in which we work. They do so with the aid of modelling software that predict environmental impact. We also measure the actual environmental changes. Van Oord’s Mobile Spill Monitoring System is an advanced system for turbidity and sediment spill measurements, developed by our Engineering Department. Early and accurate monitoring of water quality parameters contribute to better sediment management.
We are also using innovative working methods that help preserve flora and fauna, for example the FaunaGuard. This instrument produces a certain sound that discourages animals from entering the area where we are working. We are also using the knowledge of local nature guides. These guides are training our staff on-site. Trainings are teaching our employees what they have to look out for, how they can recognise prominent animal species, and what they have to do if animals come within a certain distance of the vessel.
In addition, we are collaborating with Dutch and foreign universities on research into accelerated coral rehabilitation. The aim of this study is to compensate for coral removed in the course of port development projects. In 2012, to ensure that the reefs can be repopulated with this coral on a large scale, Van Oord started construction of a container laboratory for coral generation. In 2013, we will deploy this mobile facility to those of our project locations where coral plays a key role.
The long-term continuity of our business is of vital importance to us. That continuity depends on our generating a healthy profit, one that enables us to pay dividends and wages in line with the market and introduce sustainable operational processes. It also gives us an opportunity to grow, and to demonstrate that growth by investing continuously in human capital and equipment. We want to make a profit, but we will never lose sight of the environment while doing so.