Green Marine, Surfrider join forces on European environmental program

Green Marine has partnered up with Surfrider Foundation Europe to launch the Green Marine Europe label, a certification program that will help maritime companies identify and reduce their environmental footprint while informing consumers of the impact of their goods. 

Photo: Unsplash/Cameron Venti

The Green Marine Europe label is based on the Green Marine environmental certification program, a voluntary initiative by the maritime industry in Canada and the United States that aims to improve the environmental performance of maritime transport beyond regulatory requirements.

As informed, it will function according to the same model of rigour and transparency as the North American program. The program will require the participating candidates to complete a self-evaluation, an external verification and the publication of their results.

It also targets the same environmental priorities as the North American program, namely — greenhouse gases, polluting atmospheric emissions, underwater noise, aquatic invasive species, the management of residual materials, and oily discharges.

Surfrider Foundation Europe is a France-based NGO for the protection of the ocean, aquatic environments and their users. 

“Surfrider Foundation Europe is delighted to announce the launch of the Green Marine Europe label to create an environmental emulation in marine sector of passenger and freight transportation,” Antidia Citores, spokesperson for Surfrider Foundation Europe who also oversees the implementation and development of the Green Marine Europe label said.

“It will provide transparent information on the environmental performance of companies thanks to the numerous criteria that go far beyond international legal obligations. This unprecedented initiative in Europe is based on an independent evaluation.”

Since last autumn, the Surfrider Foundation Europe team and that of Green Marine have been working in partnership to adapt the North American certification program’s criteria for ship owners to European standards. An advisory committee that brings together members of the maritime industry, government and environmental groups has been set up to complete this exercise.

“It’s with great enthusiasm that we envision this long-term partnership between Surfrider Foundation Europe and European ship owners to replicate in Europe the approach that has proven itself in North America,” David Bolduc, Green Marine’s executive director, commented.

“We firmly believe that an open and transparent dialogue among the industry, its governmental partners and civilian society is the most effective way to define an environmental improvement approach that is both ambitious and achievable for the maritime transportation sector.”

The active participation of ship owners in the development of the label’s criteria represents another pillar of the model.

“The resulting sense of involvement and ownership ensures a better mobilization of the sector,” Bolduc added.

Initial evaluations will begin shortly and the results of the first laureates will be published this autumn.

“I am delighted with the commitment of ship owners in France to reduce the environmental footprint of maritime transportation beyond regulatory requirements,” Arnaud Leroy, the chair and CEO of l’Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (ADEME), the agency for ecological transition that is supporting the process, said.

“The Green Marine Europe label will recognize their actions and will be a powerful mobilization tool to support all European ship owners in the ecological transition of the maritime sector.”

According to Surfrider, the launch of the Green Marine Europe label signifies a major step forward for European shipping and progress towards reducing the pollution caused by maritime transport. Currently, the industry accounts for 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, but studies show that if no changes are made, this figure could rise to 17 per cent by 2050.