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Utrecht firmly on the sustainability path with a.s.r. on board

This new sustainable initiative fits in with a.s.r.’s goal to further minimise its footprint and also contributes to the plan to make Utrecht the first region in the world with a bi-directional ecosystem


Insurance firm a.s.r. moves further towards its goal of 50% less CO2 by 2025 and helps in Utrecht’s plan to achieve a bi-directional ecosystem. By Elise van Herwaarden.

Dutch insurance giant a.s.r. has opened the largest, bi-directional electric charging car park in the world.

The opening in Utrecht was performed by mayor Sharon Dijksma together with Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r.

Bi-directional charging, also known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or vehicle-to-home (V2H), is the ability of an electric vehicle to reverse the process of taking power from the grid, allowing the vehicle to supply energy back to the grid.

This sustainable car park at the a.s.r office on Archimedeslaan can simultaneously charge and discharge 250 electric cars owned by employees.

The covered parking area of almost 10,000 sq m has a roof with more than 2,000 solar panels. This accounts for 4 million electric kilometres a year. The 250 smart bi-directional charging stations in the car park allow electric cars to charge and discharge, and there are batteries in which the generated power can be stored.

‘The urgency to combat climate change is growing day by day. As an insurer, we want to play a leading role in the field of sustainability in several areas.’

Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r.

This new sustainable initiative fits in with a.s.r.’s goal to further minimise its footprint and also contributes to the plan to make Utrecht the first region in the world with a bi-directional ecosystem.

Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r., says: “The urgency to combat climate change is growing day by day. As an insurer, we want to play a leading role in the field of sustainability in several areas. Since our sustainable office building is fully CO2 neutral, 98% of our CO2 footprint now comes from our mobility. a.s.r. wants to emit 50% less CO2 by 2025. In order to encourage behavioural change, everyone at a.s.r. is given the opportunity to contribute to this.

“For example, through a bicycle plan, an attractive public transport offer, and now the possibility of recharging cars. The theme of ‘sustainability’ never stops, there is always a next step. But nothing happens by itself, and today we are taking another important step in the right direction.”

Mayor Sharon Dijksma adds: “Together with many partners we are developing a bi-directional ecosystem within the Utrecht region. This charging garage at a.s.r. makes an important contribution to this. Our progressive course in the field of sustainable mobility is an example for the rest of the Netherlands and the world.”

‘We are developing a bi-directional ecosystem within the Utrecht region and this charging garage at a.s.r. makes an important contribution.’

Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht

The a.s.r. office building has been sustainably renovated in recent years and has been CO2 neutral and completely off gas since September 2019. As a result, the office building’s energy label has gone from label G to a label A++. With this transition and the arrival of the bi-directional charging car park, a.s.r. hopes to encourage other office owners to become sustainable as well.

As an investor, a.s.r. shows its social responsibility. It believes it is important to play a meaningful role in making society more sustainable. For example, a.s.r. seeks to do this by a.s.r. asset management applying ethical and sustainability criteria in its investment policy and through a.s.r. real estate’s sustainable management of its real estate portfolio.

Elise van Herwaarden is sustainability manager at a.s.r. real estate.

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