EcoPorts News

New ESPO Green Guide Encourages Ports to Excel in Environmental Management and Sustainability

03 Oct 2012

Today, ESPO launched its new “Green Guide; Towards excellence in port environmental management and sustainability” during a dedicated session at the GreenPort Congress in Marseille. The new Guide fully revises and updates the last ESPO Environmental Code of Practice that was produced almost ten years ago.


ESPO Chairman Victor Schoenmakers said to be delighted to present ESPO’s new Guide: “I am confident that the ambitious goals of the Green Guide will encourage our members to further improve their track record in environmental management and performance.” “This Guide is a product of ports for ports and I am very grateful to the members of the Sustainable Development Committee and the secretariat for the hard work they put in.”, Mr Schoenmakers added.

The guide goes a step further than previous editions. After re-establishing the ports’ vision on sustainability, the Guide introduces a common framework for action under ‘Five Es’: Exemplify, Enable, Encourage, Engage and Enforce. This action framework is applied to five selected environmental issues: air quality, energy conservation and climate change, noise management, waste management and water management.

In the foreword to the Guide, Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas wrote: “The application of the ‘Five Es’ is showing the way towards a comprehensive and integrated approach. The Commission appreciates ESPO’s approach in assisting ports to implement the relevant EU rules rigorously and is following this initiative with great interest.”
The Green Guide is not merely a promotional tool of the sector’s efforts and the evidence-based progress that has been achieved over time. Inspired by the positive trends, ESPO wants to encourage its member ports to further evaluate their environmental performance, to see where they stand, what they have already achieved and what would be the next steps towards further environmental improvement. Overall, the ESPO Green Guide favours a bottom up approach, in which port authorities are proactively taking responsibility and living up to the expectations of the community. It encourages ports to be responsible for their own initiatives, to benchmark their performance, and to deliver science-based evidence of achievements.

The Guide is accompanied by two online annexes. Annex 1 consists of exemplary response options and good practices that are in place in European ports. Annex 2 summarises the most significant EU legislation that influences the environmental management of port areas. Both annexes are dynamic and as such subject to periodic review by the Sustainable Development Committee of ESPO.