Sustainability: future-proof port for customers and the local community

Linda van Waveren

The Paris Agreement of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference urges us to move the energy transition forward. This has created a number of new opportunities for the Port, including sustainable energy generation, the storage and transhipment of alternative energy sources and the production of recyclable resources. At the same time, we are also working on reducing our own carbon footprint and minimising our environmental impact. We also feel responsible for the negative impact of cargo passing through our Port. We work with international players, other ports, governments and NGOs to promote a fair and responsible trade supply chain. In fact, this is one of the biggest challenges we face.


Sustainability Liaison Linda van Waveren serves as Port of Amsterdam’s CSR Manager.

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Initiatives we have launched since 2015:


Responsible supply chain
We are not alone in our aspiration to improve the sustainability of the supply chain. We increase our impact by forging closer partnerships and encourage our customers, suppliers and buyers to work together to make information about cargo more transparent.
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We act as a liaison together with the Dutch industry association for port authorities, the Branche Organisatie Zeehavens (BOZ). We discuss any issues with our supply chain partners and stakeholders through the Leaders for Nature network (the business network of the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN], whose members include the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Ministries for Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs, and Port of Rotterdam). We are also a member of Bettercoal, an organisation dedicated to improving conditions in the coal mining industry.


Sustainable purchasing policy

We are working on developing a sustainable purchasing policy based on areas such as carbon emissions, circular purchasing and social return, where we not only consider the price but also the impact of our purchasing policies on the environment and society.


Sustainability

Port of Amsterdam is one of the largest energy ports in Europe. On account of the Port's environmental impact and of fossil fuels on the climate, we have opted for Sustainable growth (PDF/Dutch). This will rank us among Europe's most sustainable ports by 2030.


Sustainable area development

The Port must remain a safe haven, offering plenty of space to work with hazardous substances, odour and noise – always at a safe distance from the local community and causing minimal inconvenience. In a detailed report about the area, we identify which areas require major investments or restructuring operations.

Why sustainability is important to us

We comply with the rules set out in the 2040 North Sea Canal Area Vision. All proposals and plans relating to environmental and spatial planning are therefore considered from both an economic and a CSR perspective. While our influence inside and outside the Port is declining, the impact of the measures we implement is increasing. We therefore feel it is important to make a contribution outside the Port, and we rely heavily on our partners throughout this process. We have already launched a large number of initiatives, ranging from improving the sustainability of our business operations to promoting cleaner shipping. We work in improving sustainability at the following three levels:

  1. Own organisation
  2. Port area
  3. Supply chain

Our objectives

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Linda van Waveren

Linda van Waveren

CSR Program manager

tel: +31 683 64 49 59

Email: linda.van.waveren@portofamsterdam.nl

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes – we work closely with other ports on promoting sustainability. For example, we share information with Port of Rotterdam about degassing plants, air quality, the publication of sustainability reports, and dilemmas relating to cargo flows. This enables us to implement key changes more quickly. In 2015 we renewed our letter of intent, in which we specifically cite our partnership with Port of Rotterdam on sustainability issues.

The general public is becoming more critical when it comes to the origin of products, and expectations are high in terms of our impact on improving the sustainability of the trade supply chains. We share the public’s sense of urgency when it comes to clean and safe trade and recognise the necessity of reducing the negative impact on society of products passing through our Port. We feel responsible and committed but are nevertheless realistic: we are most influential in the Amsterdam port area. This makes it possible for us to reward good behaviour and fair and responsible trade, while at the same time discouraging undesirable practices. We work together with other ports, through the Branche Organisatie Zeehavens (BOZ), the European Seaports Organization (ESPO) and IAPH, as well as through our membership in industry associations. We work with customers and governments on lobbying and agenda setting in partnerships and international networks. This is how we work together on building a sustainable, responsible and safe supply chain.

Since a healthy organisation is comprised of healthy employees, we offer various programmes to help our people maintain their good health. For example, we facilitate training courses and workshops relating to lifestyle, exercise and nutrition, as well as testing the desk bike as a dynamic workplace. Our policy has caused the sickness rate to decrease over the years. In 2015 this rate fell once again, to 2.3% (down from 3.4% in 2014). This is far below the national average. In 2016 we earned an employee satisfaction score of 7.3 (versus 7.4 in 2014).

Yes, we are. We feel it is important to contribute to solving various social and community challenges in our region. Our Infrastructure and Management department, for example, has been working with Pantar, a company that provides training to disadvantaged job seekers, along with the opportunity to gain work experience. Through Pantar, we provide employment and support to around 3,000 residents of Amsterdam and the nearby town of Diemen.
Our office and our Port are places where young people registered with social employment organisations such as Emma at Work and School2Work can acquire work experience. We are also exploring ways of promoting internships for students in the Dutch senior secondary vocational education (MBO) system. Through these initiatives we facilitate job participation for young people and adults with disabilities or social and/or psychological disorders. They receive more opportunities in society by working on increasing their self-sufficiency.

We believe our stakeholders’ opinions are vital for our policies and operations, and we therefore organise various roundtable meetings and discussions with our various stakeholders. Since 2015 we have been working with an independent research company which measures our reputation among six different stakeholder categories: partners, suppliers, government agencies, NGOs, research and educational institutions, and media outlets. We aim for at least a good-to-excellent reputation: a score of between 71 and 90 out of 100. In 2015 we attained a score of between 56 and 89 on the Reputatiebarometer® (Reputation Barometer).
We assess the stakeholder category ‘customers’ through the annual customer satisfaction survey and the stakeholder category ‘employees’ through the biannual employee satisfaction survey.

 

Yes, because it is only by measuring data that we can accurately assess the success of these initiatives. We start out by measuring total energy consumption in the Port – we aim to reduce this by saving on energy. We are also working with industry association ORAM to investigate proposals which provide incentives for customers to implement energy-saving measures such as the installation of solar panels. We show our joint efforts by measuring our impact on the air, water, dust, odour and noise every year. In addition, we also measure the number of complaints and conduct environmental surveys among local residents. We intend to do this on a more in-depth basis in the future.

No, this is not the case. Our Port is surrounded by Natura 2000 nature protection areas, including the North Sea Coast Area and the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve. These areas are protected on account of their biodiversity and the variety of plant and animal species to be found there. Growth in the Port means more ships and potentially more emissions and increased activity. We have implemented mitigating measures in port projects adjacent to the Natura 2000 areas, including the construction of the new large sea lock and lighterage.