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ESPO presents the 2021 Green Guide, providing a handbook for greening

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ESPO presents the 2021 Green Guide, providing a handbook for greening

ESPO Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost

During the last day of the ESPO Conference Regatta 2021, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) presented the key components of the forthcoming 2021 Green Guide. The Guide comes as ports are increasingly undertaking greening efforts, and provides hands-on guidance and advice for ports involved in greening their own activities, whilst outlining how port authorities can help facilitate greening in the wider port area and the local community.

Since its creation in 1993, ESPO has been a driving force behind significant improvements in the field of environmental management. The ESPO Environmental Code of Practice (1994) was the first official ESPO policy document and the first achievement of the organisation. The Code was then updated in 2003 and 2012, with the latest update to be published by the summer of this year.

The development of the Green Guide, together with the bottom-up work realised in the EcoPorts Network, provides the cornerstone of ESPO’s efforts to assist its members in excelling further in environmental management and performance.

ESPO Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost comments: “Ports in Europe all have greening on top of their agenda, whatever their size, the market they serve, their geographical situation or their governance. Over the last decade both the ports and the environmental context have changed. With this 2021 Green Guide we respond to these changes and aim to guide ports on their journey towards a greener future, each at their pace and with their tools, but all with the same level of ambition. Europe’s ports want to contribute to a decarbonised and sustainable European economy and society both by mitigating externalities and actively offering solutions for the wider economy and environment.”

Ports will increasingly be asked to address unfamiliar and novel issues as part of the transition to a greener future. Exchanging experiences, identifying good practices, and learning from each other is more important to ports than it has ever before. The ESPO 2021 Green Guide was created to help address these issues, and provides a handbook developed by ports, for ports towards a green future.

Even if the main and primary goal of the Green Guide is to assist Europe’s port authorities in realising their environmental and climate agendas and ambitions, the Guide also gives policymakers, local communities and stakeholders unique insight into the ambitions of ports. In addition to the guide, a dedicated database of good green practices in European ports has been developed and is available here.

Commenting on the Green Good Practices database, ESPO Senior Policy advisor Valter Selén states: “Together with our dedicated membership, we have gathered over 60 good practices from port authorities in one publicly available database, adding a new element to the ESPO Green Guide. The database demonstrates the ongoing greening efforts undertaken by port authorities, and provides another tool whereby ports can encourage and promote further greening efforts through sharing experiences and good practices.”

The ESPO Green Guide is divided into three parts.

Part I explains the approach of the ESPO Green Guide 2021 by outlining the competences of port authorities and the scope of the greening activities. Understanding the governance and competence of port managing bodies is essential for ports when preparing their pathway to a green future, and when assessing which tools to use. It also helps other port stakeholders and policy makers better understand the port’s greening pathway.

Part II provides a “manual” for greening the port. The ESPO Green Guide 2021 outlines a common vision of the role of port authorities in contributing to a European green future. It puts forward ambitions on how port authorities will move forward to 2050 and beyond, leaving it up to each individual port authority to define, through their roadmap, the steps needed to achieve their defined objectives. Part II identifies a series of tools at the disposal of port authorities. Finally, this Guide comes with an extensive dedicated database of green practices provided by European ports (available here).

Part III showcases how ports engage not only in the mitigation of pollution, but also strive to positively contribute to greening the European economy, acting as an important partner in achieving the energy and green transition.

The dedicated database of green practices can be consulted on the ESPO website.

The new ESPO Green Guide 2021 will be shortly publicly available.  

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