Top Environmental Priorities for the European Port Sector

Top 10 Environmental Priorities European Ports

Source: European Sea Ports Organisation (2020).ESPO Environmental Report 2020. Brussels: ESPO.

The priority ports assign to individual environmental issues change with time and as conditions evolve. In a European context, port authorities have developed a periodically revised hierarchy of the ten environmental priorities, aiming to produce benchmarking regarding key areas of port environmental performance to be addressed. In 2020, air quality was the top environmental priority, followed by climate change, which first reached the top-10 list of European ports environmental priorities in 2016. Energy efficiency is the third priority of ports.

These priorities have shifted with climate change emerging as the epicenter. It was the tenth environmental priority in 2017 and became the second priority for ports in 2020. There is an apparent increase in the number of ports facing operational challenges due to climate change. Thus, they are interested in monitoring these trends to strengthen the resilience of their existing infrastructure to adapt to climate change and take it into consideration when planning the development of their future infrastructure projects.