By ESPO Chair
I am delighted to present you the ESPO Environmental Report 2021. This 6th edition
of the Report requires special attention, with environment and climate concerns
increasingly becoming foundational pillars in the strategies of ports in Europe.
Furthermore, the recently published climate proposals put forward by the
European Commission in the Fit for 55-package set the scene for a transition of
our economy and society towards a green European future. Let it be clear: ports,
as central nodes in the supply chain, hubs of energy and industry and unique
interfaces between sea and land, are and want to be part of this transition.
The special attention for the 2021 Report is also merited due to its findings. Since the
monitoring of the environmental performance of Europe’s ports started, there has
been an annual improvement on most, if not all, key environmental management
indicators. Over the last years, however, there has been some worrying signs of
stagnation and even decrease in performance for certain indicators. With the 2021
Report, it seems that ports have curbed this negative trend and increased efforts
to continuously improve their environmental management across the board.
The trends are positive for critical indicators such as the general environmental
management index and the certification through environmental management
systems, in particular our own EcoPorts PERS certification system.
The representativeness of the data is also continuously improving, with 21
countries represented in the sample and 99 ports in the sample overall. While it is
clear that the bottom-up engagement of ports towards greening is encouraging,
we should not rest on our laurels. We must keep our finger on the pulse, progress
further, and strengthen our monitoring efforts.
To this end, ESPO published a new Green Guide 2021, which sets out a vision for a
green future1. Its guidance should be seen as a companion for ports in Europe for
how to develop a pathway to greening. A continuously updated online database
of good green practices accompanies the Green Guide2. Gathering over 70 good
practices from ports all over Europe, the database shows that every port, small,
big, located in the north, south, east or west, can lead the way in greening efforts
and set a good example to others.
I am sure that the Green Guide 2021 will assist ports further decrease their
environmental footprint and enable sustainable development in the port sector.
By combining the concrete guidance provided in the Guide with the EcoPorts
monitoring and evaluation, I do hope we can present an even more promising
environmental report next year.
I would like to thank all who have contributed to this report, first of all the
EcoPorts members who submitted their data, Dr Martí Puig who drafted the
report together with academic colleagues Dr Chris Wooldridge and Dr Rosa
Mari Darbra, the ESPO EcoPorts coordinator Valter Selén, as well as the ESPO
secretariat for the good work on this report.