The concept of port environmental management has developed markedly in Europe during the last 15 years. The progress was driven by mutual collaboration between the port sector, research institutions and specialist organisations. The framework for this mutual collaboration was developed through joint activities instigated and funded by primary port partners and part-funded by EC Research and Development Programmes such as Eco- Information (1997-2000) and ECOPORTS (2002-2005). The cooperation between port professionals, academic researchers and specialist organisations has proved to be a potent mix in terms of delivering a functional framework of cost-effective solutions developed to implement policies and produce continuous improvement of the port environment. In view of the differences between ports and the changing nature of the environmental challenges that ports face, the establishment of an environmental management framework or system is considered of utmost importance by ESPO. A systematic approach to environmental management enables the continuous identification of an individual port’s priorities while introduces a functional organisational structure that sets respective targets, implements measures, monitors impact, evaluates, reviews and takes corrective actions when and where necessary. In this way ports can achieve and demonstrate continuous environmental improvement.

Assisting tools and methodologies

The EcoPorts tools and methodologies provide a proven overarching framework that assists ports in their environmental management. EcoPorts became an integral part of ESPO in January 2011. The EcoPorts tools became part of the services that ESPO provides to its member ports through the online platform at www.ecoports.com.

Self Diagnosis Method (SDM)

The Self Diagnosis Method (SDM) is a well‐established and widely adopted, time and cost‐efficient methodology for identifying environmental risk and establishing priorities for action and compliance. SDM is a concise checklist against which port managers can self‐assess the environmental management programme of the port in relation to the performance of both the sector and international standards. The SDM checklist addresses the fields of environmental policy (placing the focus on activities, aspects, objectives and targets), management organization and personnel, environmental training, communication, operational management, emergency planning, monitoring, auditing and review. Individual port responses are treated confidentially and SDM is by no means a “pass” or “fail” exercise. The responses of the port managers are entered into a database and this contributes to the build‐up of the port sector’s benchmark of performance.

On completion of the checklist the port authority joins the EcoPorts network and obtains access to the other ESPO services namely the SDM Review and Port Environmental Review System (PERS). Ports are encouraged to submit their SDM for review in order to receive confidential feedback and advice. The individual port responses are treated anonymously and in strict confidence. The analytical review includes: (a) a projection of the port’s answers against the European benchmark of performance, (b) a GAP analysis between the port’s current organisation and performance and the requirements of established environmental management standards (ISO 14001 and PERS), (c) a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) identification of the port’s environmental management performance, and (d) an analytical report containing expert’s advice and recommendations on the current status and the further development of the port’s environmental management program. The use of the SDM tool over time provides a consistent periodic review of progress. The results obtained from SDM can be used effectively in annual reports and the information collected can be incorporated directly into more formal review systems. In addition, SDM assists in the implementation of the ESPO policy recommendations. Ports around Europe find SDM to be a highly effective tool for developing their environmental management programme, as well as in reporting progress and raising environmental awareness of staff internally within the port organisation. The nature of the tool makes it applicable and beneficial for ports of different sizes and at different stages of development regarding their environmental priorities. SDM is being used by some of the largest ports in Europe, by ports with a progressive environmental policy that are already certified by an EMS (e.g. PERS, ISO 14001 or EMAS), as well as by small ports that want to initiate a process of self-assessment and to create awareness of environmental issues.

Port Environmental Review System (PERS)

Over the last 10 years and having the continuous support and recognition of ESPO, the Port Environmental Review System (PERS)7 has firmly established its reputation as the only port‐sector specific environmental management standard. PERS stems from work carried out by the ports themselves and it is specifically designed to assist port authorities with the functional organisation necessary to deliver the goals of sustainable development. The overriding ports element is especially important.

There is plenty of advice available on general environmental topics but the highly specialised nature of the environmental challenges in the port area that port authorities face, means that a “custom made” approach is absolutely vital. While incorporating the main generic requirements of recognised environmental management standards (e.g. ISO 14001), PERS is adapted to deliver effective port environmental management and its implementation can be independently certified by Lloyd’s Register. Furthermore, the scheme effectively builds upon the policy recommendations of ESPO and gives ports clear objectives at which to aim.

Port interests are increasingly under pressure to confirm compliance with environmental legislation, report on environmental quality, and measure the effectiveness of the management system itself. Many ports have therefore an interest in introducing an Environmental Management System in their port but find it difficult to make personnel available for its introduction. PERS addresses this challenge being credible and at the same time user friendly and not too demanding in terms of resources and time. Being developed by ports for ports PERS is designed to deliver key elements, such as an environmental policy statement, a standard description of the actual set up of the port’s environmental management organisation, and an overview of the environmental aspects of port’s activities.

Apart from the EcoPorts tools, there are also well established environmental management standards that ports may choose to implement such as ISO 14001 and EMAS. Although not being sector specific, ISO 14001 and EMAS are widely recognised by stakeholders and general public.

ISO 14001

The ISO 140018 standard specifies requirements for an environmental management system to enable an organization to develop and implement a policy and objectives which take into account legal and other requirements to which the organisation subscribes, and information about significant environmental aspects. It applies to those environmental aspects that the organisation identifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence. It does not itself state specific environmental performance criteria. ISO 14001 is applicable to any organization that wishes to establish, implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system, to assure itself of conformity with its stated environmental policy, and to demonstrate conformity with ISO 14001 by:

1. making a self-determination and self-declaration, or

2. seeking confirmation of its conformance by parties having an interest in the organisation, such as customers, or

3. seeking confirmation of its self-declaration by a party external to the organisation, or

4. seeking certification/registration of its environmental management system by an external organisation.

All the requirements in ISO 14001 are intended to be incorporated into any environmental management system. The extent of the application will depend on factors such as the environmental policy of the organisation, the nature of its activities, products and services and the location where and the conditions in which it functions.


The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organizations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. Since 2001 EMAS has been open to all economic sectors including public and private services. In 2009 the EMAS Regulation was revised and modified for the second time. Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) was published on 22 December 2009 and entered into force on 11 January 2010.

[*] NEW ESPO GREEN GUIDE, http://www.espo.be/images/stories/Publications/codes_of_practice/espo_green%20guide_october%202012_final.pdf

  • folder cutsmall29 MAY, 2014

    workshop IN SIVOTA - OLIG

    Withsuccess for theWorkshopin the context of cross-border project ELPORTALorganized by Igoumenitsa Port Authority in Sivota, Thesprotia, Greece.
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  • 4 Dec, 2013


    Successfully organized by OLKE SA the Conference within the program EL-PORT-AL  for joint environmental actions of the ports.
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  • 5 DEC, 2013


    During the workshop was analyzed in detail the specific application of the environmental management system for each of the ports.
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  • igoumenitsa exhibition2small18 Dec, 2012


    In major European exhibition on the cruise in the Mediterranean countries, Seatrade Med 2012
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