Role of sustainability in global seaports

Year 2021 (March)
Author(s) Tahazzud Hossain (Service Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), Michelle Adams, Tony R. Walker (School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Role of sustainability in global seaports


Seaports are integral hubs of maritime supply chains and contribute to socio-economic development for communities. However, seaports can create negative impacts on host communities. Adopting sustainability initiatives within seaport operations is growing rapidly, and while many seaports claim to operate green or sustainably, sustainable port initiatives and approaches are poorly described in the academic literature. This research explores relationships between existing seaport sustainability and the current narrative that exists related to sustainability improvements. Thirty-six seaports were selected from North America (NA), Europe (EU) and Asia Pacific (AP) for analysis. Twenty-five (25) pre-defined indicators were used to identify operational trends linked to sustainability claimed by seaports. Each operation was assessed using publicly available data; using a mixed methods approach, descriptive statistical analysis for sustainability initiatives was performed to assess seaport sustainability efforts. Results show that EU seaports have made more progress in adopting various sustainability initiatives compared to NA and AP seaports, despite the public narrative of most seaport executives about their commitment to manage environmental impacts, and being good corporate citizens. Initiative most widely adopted include: greater emphasis on internal environmental policy and management – including third-party certification; investment in proactive environmental solutions; and enhanced stakeholder engagement.

Keywords: seaport sustainability, sustainability initiatives, sustainability scale, environmental management, sustainability approaches.

Cite as: Tahazzud Hossain, Ocean and Coastal Management,



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