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Green Marine Europe’s very first laureates: Towards an ecological transition of maritime transportation

October 8, 2020

Paris, October 8, 2020 Six months after the introduction of Green Marine Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe and Green Marine are delighted to present the first-ever laureates of this new environmental label. Six European ship owners renowned within the maritime transportation sector have joined Green Marine Europe to earn this label and commit to a sustainable transition.

Shipping’s environmental challenges

Approximately 90% of the world’s goods are moved by water. Although maritime transportation is the most efficient mode of transport, this activity still generates pollution that is harmful to the marine environment.

Faced with this reality, the Surfrider Foundation Europe NGO began in 2019 to outline an environmental program which led in April 2020 to the announcement of the new Green Marine Europe label. SFE is thus realizing its intention to work in partnership with ship owners and the sector’s primary stakeholders to reduce pollution linked to maritime transportation.

It is by coordinating a sustainable transportation label in Europe – Green Marine Europe – that SFE, alongside Green Marine in North America, offers a sustainable solution to the industry to help European ship owners to reduce their environmental footprint.

A multi-stakeholder initiative to go beyond existing regulations

Beyond the Green Marine and Surfrider Foundation Europe partnership, the label is the result of the collaborative work involving all relevant stakeholders from the ship owner and port sectors, governments, NGOs, and the Agence de la transition écologique (ADEME) in France. These external stakeholders improved the discussions and successfully adapted the criteria for Europe.

Earning this independent label, these six ship owners – Brittany Ferries, CORSICA linea, Ifremer and its subsidiary Genavir, La Méridionale, Orange Marine and Socatra – are part of a sustainable process of continuous improvement of maritime transportation’s environmental performance. Through the evaluation of seven indicators, such as greenhouse gas emissions, air emissions (NOx, SOx and particulate matter) invasive aquatic species, or the management of waste or of underwater noise, the laureates provide information on their environmental performance that goes beyond existing regulations. The Green Marine Europe program is expected to be further enhanced next year, most notably with the addition of an indicator on responsible ship recycling. Laureates must requalify annually to retain their label.

Although this is the first year of evaluation and the initial group of laureates, the results already bear witness to their commitment to the environment. In fact, all six ship owners far exceeded the program’s minimum performance requirements for the first year of the certification, obtaining at least Level 2 for one of the indicators. Results are measured on a 1 to 5 scale with Level 1 representing the monitoring of regulations and Level 5 reflecting excellence and leadership. Green Marine Europe’s first annual report with these detail results is available online. To be awarded the laureate label, the candidates had to conduct a self-diagnosis and have this process and their results verified by an independent verifier accredited by Green Marine Europe, as well as agree to the publication of their individual results.

An event at the heart of maritime institutions

The announcement of the first laureates of the Green Marine Europe label was hosted today by France’s Ministry of the Sea in the presence of Madame Minister Annick Girardin, and Madame Secretary of the State in charge of Biodiversity, Bérangère Abba. The event gathered within this setting, physically and online, various interests from the maritime world: ship owners, ship builders, environmental organizations, politicians and administrations. It proves the willingness of the sector in Europe to join in a transparent, monitored, sustainable transition. The annual progress approach and the regular review of the criteria are guarantees of engagement and emulation towards greater respect for the ocean. In the years to come, Green Marine Europe will be able to inform the decisions of consumers and passengers in terms of their daily purchases and empower them to act in ways to protect the ocean.

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