Green Marine Europe is a voluntary environmental certification program for the European maritime industry.
In 2019, the Surfrider Foundation Europe’s project team collaborated with Green Marine’s team to coordinate the adaptation of Green Marine’s North American environmental certification program in Europe. The key players in this adaptation consist of a group of European shipping companies and maritime transportation stakeholders, thereby creating a mechanism that supports them in improving their environmental performance on a European scale.
The Green Marine Europe program works in the same way as the North American one. When launched in the spring of 2020, it only involved ship owners.
In order to obtain the Green Marine label, candidates must annually measure their environmental performance using the program’s self-assessment guides, then submit their results to an external verification that is carried out by an independent verifier accredited by Green Marine Europe, as well as agree to publish their individual results.
Coordination of the Green Marine label is managed by Surfrider Foundation Europe. Its team proposes strategic plans to the steering committee for review and approval, and then implements them.
The steering committee:
The steering committee is the forerunner of Green Marine Europe’s board of directors. It is in charge of the certification’s strategic orientations within Europe.
It currently has eight voting members representing ship owners, the Green Marine Europe secretariat, and public institutions:
The advisory committee
The advisory committee is a consultative group that provides expert advice on the criteria for the environmental performance indicators within the program, as well as the program’s European adaptation and future developments.
The advisory committee brings together all of Green Marine Europe’s stakeholders, including: ship owners, port representatives, shipyard managers, NGOs, shippers, financiers and sectorial experts. This group is responsible for adapting the criteria initially proposed for European territory, as well as for proposing new criteria. It formulates clearly informed opinions for the steering committee, which has the final decision-making power. The advisory committee is a space for dialogue among European maritime transportation stakeholders regarding environmental issues.
The governance for an independent model of Green Marine Europe will gradually evolve over the next four years.
Green Marine Europe is aiming for concrete and measurable improvement in the maritime industry’s environmental performance. To achieve this goal, Green Marine Europe has adopted a set of guiding principles. In compliance with applicable laws and regulations, every candidate seeking the Green Marine Europe label agrees to:
Green Marine Europe respects the principles of sustainable development, which is to say development that meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet the needs of tomorrow.
Founded in 2007, Green Marine is an initiative of several associations representing the shipping industry in Canada and the United States. Green Marine quickly distinguished itself through its credibility, its transparency and its ability to improve the environmental performance of its participants beyond regulatory requirements. The environmental program originally designed for the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes maritime industry generated unanticipated interest by the industry elsewhere and is now recognized on a North American scale.
Green Marine has made remarkable progress since its inception in terms of membership, development of the environmental program, and global visibility and recognition. For example, Green Marine has received the prestigious international Green Shipping Initiative of the Year Award, which recognizes and rewards environmental excellence and the important work of initiatives that help the maritime industry to improve sustainable development.
Furthermore, its steady growth in membership is irrefutable proof of its vitality. The environmental program responds to the specific needs of numerous companies within the maritime world. As a result, a voluntary initiative originally launched for domestic ship owners, ports and terminals in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes region is now international in scope. In North America, it includes domestic and international ship owners, port authorities, terminal operators and shipyard managers, as well as the U.S. and Canadian management corporations for the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 2019, Green Marine took steps to collaborate with Surfrider Foundation Europe to export the environmental certification program to France, giving birth to Green Marine Europe in 2020.
The subtleties of language and legal terms and their meaning result in some differences in the vocabulary used on each side of the Atlantic in regard to the environmental program.
Here is a brief glossary to help all to navigate their way: