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Green Marine 2023 program: another step to protect biodiversity

April 11, 2023

Quebec City, QC – The protection of biodiversity is at the core of international concerns, as it has been for the maritime industry. This year Green Marine is focusing on a new performance indicator for aquatic ecosystems. The environmental certification program’s 2023 criteria were released earlier today.

The performance indicator on aquatic ecosystems is the 15th indicator to be added to the environmental certification program, which is also celebrating its 15th anniversary! The new indicator will apply to port authorities and the Seaway management corporations with the goal of improving the health of aquatic ecosystems in the immediate and extended areas of influence of a port, both for the port waters along its shorelines as well as nearby streams, rivers and wetlands. Green Marine has more than 50 certified ports in Canada and the United States.

“The criteria for the new indicator on aquatic ecosystems were developed using the same collaborative approach at the heart of Green Marine,” notes Green Marine’s President David Bolduc. “The need for this indicator was initially raised by port participants, discussed and developed in a working group with key stakeholders, reviewed by the applicable membership, and then approved by the board of directors.”

Program Director Véronique Trudeau led the working group over the course of a dozen meetings since mid-2021 to develop the indicator’s five levels. “The new indicator addresses a number of elements related to the protection of aquatic ecosystems, particularly the characterization of these ecosystems, including water banks, wetlands, and their restoration,” she explains. “The indicator also includes criteria related to aquatic invasive species, dredging, improving awareness, as well as research and development.”

The new aquatic ecosystems indicator will be optional during the first year of evaluation (in 2023), as is always the case when a new indicator is added. It will subsequently be obligatory to obtain Green Marine certification.

In addition, the 2023 program now distinguishes the criteria applicable to shipyards as separate from those applying to terminals. The indicators for shipyards have been revised and adapted specifically for this type of activity. The significant and continuing strong growth in the number of shipyards joining the program in Canada and the United States made it time for this group of participants to have its own criteria.

At the same time as all of these developments, Green Marine continues to review all its criteria annually to ensure that they exceed regulatory requirements, reflect best practices, and advance environmental excellence.

In 2023 the ship owners’ performance indicator for greenhouse gases was notably revised to raise the annual average GHG reduction target from 1% to 1.8% to achieve a 40% reduction by 2030. The ultimate target remains carbon neutrality by 2050.

For landside participants (ports, terminals and shipyards), the review focused on the performance indicators for spill prevention and stormwater management, community impacts, and community relations.

All the Green Marine environmental certification program’s 2023 issues and criteria are on our website.

Green Marine Europe, the European counterpart of Green Marine’s environmental certification program, has also published its 2023 criteria. The requirements for European ship owners are increased, particularly regarding underwater noise and SOx air emissions. Green Marine Europe is also working on adapting the Green Marine shipyard criteria for European locations, which will lead to the expansion of its membership to include this type of operations.

Green Marine in brief

This year marks the 15th year of Green Marine’s North American environmental certification program. Founded in 2007, Green Marine is a voluntary initiative by the maritime industry to go beyond regulations. More than 170 ship owners, port authorities, terminal operators and shipyard managers in Canada and the United States currently participate in the program. Green Marine’s uniqueness derives from the support it receives from environmental, academic and governmental organizations. More than 90 supporters help to shape and revise the program. In 2020, Green Marine collaborated with Surfrider Foundation Europe to export the environmental certification program to France and give rise to Green Marine Europe.

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