Green Marine is a voluntary environmental certification program for the North American marine industry. It is a rigorous, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses key environmental issues through its 12 performance indicators.
Participants are shipowners, ports, terminals, Seaway corporations and shipyards based in Canada and the United States.
The program encourages its participants to reduce their environmental footprint by taking concrete actions.
To receive their certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through Green Marine environmental program’s exhaustive self-evaluation guides. They also need to have their results verified by an accredited external verifier and agree to publication of their individual results.
Green Marine is managed by Green Marine Management Corporation, a not-for-profit organization. Members of the corporation are the leaders of companies participating in Green Marine’s environmental program (voting members) and marine industry associations based in Canada and the United States (non-voting members). Raymond Johnston serves as President of the Green Marine Management Corporation.
Corporate leadership is one of the key elements in Green Marine’s success. The organization is headed by a Board of Directors made up of Presidents and CEO’s from both Canadian and U.S. companies representing the bi-national nature of the Green Marine and the diversity of its membership in numerous sectors of the industry.
*Also Directors of Green Marine Management Corporation – U.S.
The Board’s role is to represent the interests of all members in determining the vision and strategic direction of the organization and to provide oversight in the conduct of the business of the Green Marine Management Corporation.
Green Marine uniqueness lies on its advisory committees’ composition: it brings industry stakeholders, legislators and environmental groups representatives to the same table. Together, they provide input and advice on different aspects of the program’s development. They are the ones giving shape to the criteria for each performance indicator making sure it is tailor-made for the marine transportation sector, addresses real environmental issues and aims at concrete actions to be undertaken by the participating companies.
Regional input is a core aspect of the Green Marine program. The committees are structured to ensure that perspectives and priorities from different geographic regions are reflected in the development of program. All Green Marine participants are invited to join in the work of the advisory committee. There are three advisory committees representing the St. Lawrence region, the Great Lakes and the West Coast.
In addition to respecting laws and applicable regulations, every company that joins Green Marine agrees to:
Green Marine is not a consulting firm, but the team has accepted in recent years a few mandates to carry out research projects external to the environmental certification program.
For example, Green Marine has conducted two major studies for Transport Canada: the first regarding underwater noise and the second on biofouling. The reports submitted by Green Marine provided a clear picture of current practices, impacts, technologies and available scientific data for each given issue to help develop adequate standards.
Green Marine has also collaborated with some of its members in a study on water quality at Canadian ports and on a project regarding social acceptability.
In each aforementioned case, the topic under study was directly related to the environmental issues already being addressed by the Green Marine program or to an emerging issue that advances the environmental program’s development.
Green Marine brings unique expertise and insight to such research projects. The team’s inherent value lies in its ability to encourage voluntary participation/input from the marine industry, its established links with the scientific community and government agencies; and its strong network of environmental groups, community associations and other relevant public stakeholders.
Founded in 2007 by the major marine industry associations in both Canada and the U.S., Green Marine has rapidly gained a reputation for credibility and transparency, and for challenging participating companies to improve their environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance.
The program was originally conceived for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence corridor, but the interest it has generated throughout the marine industry has enabled it to evolve and cover North America in its entirety.
We made remarkable progress since our beginnings in terms of membership, environmental program development, recognition, credibility and visibility. For example, the environmental program received the prestigious Green Shipping Initiative of the Year Award at the Sustainable Shipping Awards 2011, in London, England. This international distinction recognizes environmental excellence and the crucial work of initiatives that help the marine industry improve its sustainable development practices.
In addition, the membership’s steady expansion is definitive proof of the program’s increasing vitality. Our environmental program is specifically meeting the needs of many companies within the maritime world. As a result, a volunteer initiative that was started for shipping companies, ports and terminals operating within the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes has become North American in scope and now includes international ship owners and shipyards.
Green Marine’s three co-chairs at the official lauch of the program on October 23, 2007: Gerry Carter, Canada Steamship Lines; Terry Johnson, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; Laurence Pathy, Fednav with representatives for Environment Canada and Transports Québec.
We are pleased to note that the North American maritime industry has adopted an environmental program in which participants commit to minimizing the environmental impact of their activities and to continuously improving their environmental performance.Esther Blier, Executive director, Marine Mammal Observation Network