Port Saint John was the first east coast port to join Green Marine, a voluntary environmental program, back in 2011. This June, coinciding with Port Days, the Port will play host to the organization’s GreenTech conference.
We’re proud to be involved with Green Marine and the strides they’ve made across North America as ports adopt more sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices. Find out more below from Green Marine executive director David Bolduc.
Tell us more about what Green Marine does.
Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.
It is a voluntary, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses nine key environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollutant air emissions, dry bulk handling and storage and spill prevention. Participants are shipowners, ports, terminals, Seaway corporations and shipyards based in Canada and the United States. The program encourages its participants to reduce their environmental footprint by taking concrete actions. To receive their certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through our exhaustive self-evaluation guides. They also need to have their results verified by an accredited external verifier and agree to publication of their individual results.
How has Green Marine grown since its inception?
Green Marine has more than doubled its membership since it started, in 2007. The program now counts 81 participants, compared to 34 when it started. The program was originally conceived for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence corridor, but the interest it has generated throughout the marine industry has enabled it to evolve and cover North America in its entirety. The scope of the program was broadened too. From the six initial environmental issues, Green Marine has grown to cover nine priorities and to include international shipowners and shipyard within its program.
To what do you attribute this growth to?
The program has rapidly gained a reputation for credibility and transparency, and for challenging participating companies to improve their environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance. The performance indicators are tailor-made for the industry and really address the relevant issues for the sector. Year after year, the results provide graphic evidence of the environmental program’s effectiveness in motivating a large segment of the maritime industry to undertake concrete action to protect the environment. I think companies are looking for a simple but rigorous program that can help them benchmark and improve their environmental performance and for a way to showcase what is being done. Green Marine is viewed as a results-oriented initiative that makes it possible for any marine company operating in Canada or the U.S. to reduce its environmental footprint, no matter the size of the company.
What are Green Marine’s long term goals in terms of lessening the transportation industry’s environmental footprint?
Continuous improvement is the keyword here. Green Marine is designed to encourage companies to go beyond regulatory compliance and the program itself is highly adaptive and flexible to take into account new regulations, new technologies and new best practices. That means it will never stop evolving in order to remain relevant.
So far, the global average continues on its upward trend, despite a growing membership and a more stringent program. Our goal is to continue on this path and develop new indicators to address other topics of interest and broaden our scope of evaluation. Our participants have shown how committed they are in always rising the bar higher
How does having Green Marine-certified organizations benefit the community at large?
One of the most important goals of the Green Marine program is to improve, in the long-term and collectively, the relationship between the industry and its stakeholders on sustainability issues. So far, we have been successful beyond expectations in that regard with unprecedented support and endorsement from governments and high-profile NGOs. Green Marine allows companies and ports to not only demonstrate and communicate their environmental commitment and achievements, but also to work in collaboration with these stakeholders to find concrete solutions to environmental issues. This is the right thing to do and it is certainly the key to maintaining our social license to operate.
Anything else you want to add.
We certainly hope that companies in Saint John, New-Brunswick and Atlantic Canada will seize the opportunity provided by the conference to learn more about the Green Marine program and take the decision to be part of this great initiative.