EcoPorts, the main environmental initiative of the European port sector, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. To give you more insight in this initiative, we will publish a series of interviews. We start with the Port of Dover, one of the first EcoPorts and the very first port that received PERS certification. Now, they are still very enthusiastic about EcoPorts, saying: 'the ability to say that Dover is an EcoPort allows us to demonstrate to all our stakeholders that we are being proactive on environmental issues.'
As a member of the British Ports Association, your port was one of the ports that initiated EcoPorts in 1997. Why did you find it important to join the Network? Did this help you to create a better relationship between the port and the city?
We have found the EcoPorts network immensely helpful in providing a way for ports to discuss environmental issues and share best practices. This has allowed us to find better solutions to global problems together, whilst recognising the vast differences between the port infrastructure, operations and local environment that each member is working with. The ability to say that Dover is an EcoPort allows us to demonstrate to all our stakeholders that we are being proactive on environmental issues.
Your port was the first EcoPorts port to receive a PERS certification. How did this help you in improving your environmental performance?
The Port of Dover had worked with academic institutes since the early 1990’s in order to understand and manage its impacts on the environment. When the opportunity arose to formalise this work into a systematic structure specifically designed for ports it was the next logical step. PERS gave the port a practical tool for ensuring that the most significant impacts were tackled first as well as a certificate to demonstrate to regulators, stakeholders and the community that the Port of Dover was taking these issues seriously and managing them.
Can you briefly tell us about your current environmental policy and how it has changed since you became an EcoPorts port?
Our Environmental Management System has developed since we started with EcoPorts and PERS. It gave us the tools to create a system that worked for us to set our priorities and we have now developed and extended that system to meet the ISO14001 standards. Over that time, priorities have changed as operations, legislation, development plans and community concerns have changed. This is the same for the whole industry as EcoPorts has identified through the publication of the Top 10 Environmental Issues. For Dover, the biggest change has been making carbon management our top priority. This has been a growing issue over the past 20 years and as a Terminal operator as well as a Harbour Authority, it is a key consideration for Dover.
What are your plans for the future regarding the environment?
We have a major construction project, Dover Western Docks Revival, to deliver a new cargo facility and marina with sea front regeneration for the community. This project is a flagship project for Dover and we are keen to ensure it performs well against sustainability criteria. We have achieved a standard of ‘Excellent’ under the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality (CEEQUAL) assessment and award scheme; a sustainability initiative for civil engineering and infrastructure projects, for The Master Plan of the project. We will now be looking to maintain that Standard throughout the design and construction of the terminal.
In addition, we are looking to build on the 44% savings we have achieved in our Carbon Footprint since 2008 by integrating renewable energies into the port as we work towards becoming carbon neutral. We are working closely with key customers to improve the recycling rates for waste landed in Dover.