Partnering in POWERS will further strengthen the AAPA and Green Marine bond
By David Bolduc, President, Green Marine
Green Marine commends the AAPA on launching the Port Opportunities with Energy, Resilience and Sustainability – a.k.a. POWERS – Program! This initiative emphasizing the need for significant government investment in new, greener infrastructure at U.S. ports is essential to address the dual challenges of energy security and climate change. It certainly has Green Marine’s full support and willingness to help where and when it can.
As many of AAPA’s members already know, Green Marine is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year as the leading environmental certification program for North America’s maritime industry. A significant number of ports have already demonstrated their commitment to continual environmental improvement by participating in the program. At last count, there were more than 50 U.S. and Canadian port authorities on both sides of the continent and along the major internal waterways that annually evaluate and report on their sustainability efforts to obtain/maintain Green Marine certification.
The performance indicators for ports address prioritized issues that include greenhouse gas emissions, dry bulk handling and storage, spill prevention and stormwater management, underwater noise reduction, and waste management. In more recent years, Green Marine’s port membership has also recognized the key stewardship role that port authorities play in creating harmony between daily industrial/trade operations and the mounting importance the public is placing on waterfront living and protecting endangered habitat. As a result, ports within the Green Marine program must also relate their progress in terms of community relations, community impacts, and environmental leadership.
All of this requires a significant yearly commitment. The payoff? The Green Marine program offers its participating membership a flexible but still rigorous framework to take feasible steps to advance their environmental sustainability year over year. Those efforts are communicated more readily to key stakeholders and the public in an apples-to-apples or, should we say, slip-to-slip way that is readily understood through Green Marine’s 1-to-5 scale with one being the monitoring of regulations and 5 reflecting excellence and leadership.
Behind the scenes, Green Marine is annually reviewing the performance indicators in consultation with its membership, which includes more than 90 supporters representing environmental organizations, research facilities, and government agencies. This review ensures that each step beyond Level 1 is sufficiently but still feasibly challenging beyond regulations. The program also stays on top of emerging technologies, many of which are developed and/or supplied by Green Marine’s partners, so as to know how innovation can help the membership to further advance sustainability and then present this challenge to participants.
Green Marine can be a superb ally to the POWERS initiative in sharing a lot of this information, particularly in what is being tried – successfully or not – in terms of new approaches. In fact, the collaboration initiated within the maritime industry because of Green Marine’s creation is unprecedented. Responding to the crisis of aquatic invasive species, Green Marine was forged by leading maritime CEOs to establish a model in which to share and discuss environmental solutions without sacrificing competitive edge. The overriding realization became that the industry is only as strong as its weakest link when it comes to the environment and that all benefit from working together on this front. The amical challenge to do better is definitely at work within the program.
The new era that all of this heralded for North America’s maritime industry is nothing short of extraordinary. What was once routinely criticized as a closed-door industry has since become at ease with routinely sharing environmental initiatives and holding port days for the public. Our members have also realized the advantages of attending our annual GreenTech conference to learn from each other’s best management practices and hands-on experience with new technologies rather than reinventing whatever is akin to the wheel at the moment at significantly more expense of time and money.
Further recognition that the quality of air and water transcends borders has also been taken to heart with innovative synergies. These include the Northwest Port Clean Air Strategy, the collaboration by U.S. and Canadian Seaway authorities on consistent infrastructure upgrades, as well as the latest initiatives to establish green shipping corridors where cleaner energy sources would readily be available to achieve greater decarbonization.
As Green Marine and the AAPA prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their original Memorandum of Understanding for greater collaboration next October, it is truly hoped we at Green Marine can help to successfully navigate the priorities underscored by the POWERS initiative so that the best possible investments are made towards a sustainable future.