Dutch Seaports win International Award for Sustainability

Press release
24-06-2020

The Dutch seaports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Terneuzen/Vlissingen, Moerdijk, and Groningen have jointly won the ‘World Ports Sustainability Award’.

Cocoa in de haven

They received the award for a joint project aimed at the application of OECD guidelines for seaports. These government guidelines concern corporate social responsibility in international business. The seaports examined how they could contribute to making occasionally risky cargo flows more sustainable.

The Seaports Trade Organisation (Brancheorganisatie Zeehavens, BOZ) has examined how seaports can influence — from their position in the supply chain — the process of making cargo flows sustainable. These cargo flows sometimes involve risks such as environmental damage, human rights violations or exploitation. Such risks are also referred to as International CSR risks: International Corporate Social Responsibility. 

On the basis of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the BOZ has examined the role and responsibility of seaports as one of the many links in the supply chain. It has also examined how seaports can contribute to reducing the international CSR risks for cargo flows processed in or transiting through the ports. The seaports have used the results of this study to identify the international CSR risks and to list the arsenal of measures available to seaports. The project exemplifies how the port community can make a positive contribution to making cargo flows more sustainable. 

The study was part of the Work Programme Seaports in which the BOZ, consisting of Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam, North Sea Port, Port of Moerdijk, and Groningen Seaports, worked together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Dutch Seaports honoured by Award 

Koen Overtoom, CEO of Port of Amsterdam, responded with great pleasure on behalf of the Dutch seaports: “The Sustainability Award represents an important recognition of the efforts of the Dutch seaports by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). This award therefore constitutes a significant honour for us. The project has strengthened the cooperation between the seaports in the area of sustainability. This cooperation will strengthen us permanently in our shared ambitions to achieve progress in making a number of international supply chains more sustainable. We will also continue talks with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Social and Economic Council on the topic of International CSR and the further elaboration of this theme.” 

Programme background 

The International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH), the alliance for the global port community, launched the World Ports Sustainability Program in 2018. The ports collaborate internationally within the IAPH by exchanging knowledge and experience concerning sustainable development in the international port community. Since 2018, the World Ports Sustainability Awards have been awarded annually for best practices. The Dutch seaports received the Award in the category of Governance and Ethics. The Awards are presented annually during the annual IAPH World Ports Conference. This conference was slated to take place in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2020, but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The awards are now presented digitally to the winners, including the Dutch seaports.