Green Marine Builds on Early Strength to Become a Continental Force

Jan 11, 2012

By David Bolduc, Executive Director of Green Marine

Reducing the environmental footprint of an entire industry cannot be done by only one individual or company – it requires unity, leadership, and will.

Thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of its members, Green Marine has come a long way since its launch four years ago. In response to a number of inquiries from coast to coast about joining the program, Green Marine’s Board of Directors opted to now welcome participants from elsewhere in Canada and the United States. What began as a voluntary effort by the maritime industry to continually improve its environmental performance in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region, now is a truly North American initiative.

Green Marine’s membership has risen by more than 20 per cent over the last year, which is the largest increase since the program’s inception in 2007, bringing the total participants to 55 and the total members to 127 (participants, partners, supporters), as of August 2011. Not only has Green Marine broadened its scope geographically, it now boasts a wider range of stakeholders since international ship owners and shipyards are also included in the program, testifying to its usefulness and value in the industry’s eyes.  Vancouver-based Seaspan Marine Corporation was the first to include both its shipyard division and tug-and-barge fleet in the environmental program.

Our program is garnering international recognition, too. Green Marine received the prestigious Sustainable Shipping Award in the category of Green Shipping Initiative of the Year for 2011. The ceremony was held in July 2011, in London, U.K. The award was created to bring attention to innovative efforts being made worldwide to improve the maritime industry’s environmental sustainability.

Most of Green Marine’s success derives from the great 2009 results we were able to publish about each of our participants. For the first time, there was statistical proof that Green Marine really works in terms of improving the environmental performance of a significant portion of the marine industry.

What’s great is that our participants have further improved on those results: the Green Marine 2010 performance report shows that an increasing number of North America’s maritime transportation companies are delivering on the commitment to continually improve their environmental record.

Our third year of evaluation provides graphic evidence of the environmental program’s effectiveness in motivating a large segment of the industry to undertake specific actions to further protect the environment.

A total of 53 participants completed Green Marine’s self-evaluation forms for 2010, compared to 44 participants in 2009. Participants have progressively improved their global average on Green Marine’s one-to-five scale, from Level 2.0 in 2008, to Level 2.5 in 2009, and up to Level 2.9 in 2010. I think the steady increase over three years illustrates the positive effect that a voluntary program with clear performance goals can produce.


TABLE – Global Average Green Marine Results

(Results based on a scale of one to five)






(including new participants[1])

Global Average





Ship Owners





Ports, Seaway,  Shipyards & Terminals





The external verification process, introduced in 2009 for ship owners, was extended to ports and terminals in 2010. This means that every company that joined Green Marine as a participant before April 2010 has undergone an independent verification by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance. Those results are published in the Green Marine Annual Report, on its website, and in other publications.

In keeping with its pledge to be open and inclusive, Green Marine has invited representatives from environmental groups, academia, and government to participate on Green Marine’s committees. We hope this will achieve a better overall understanding of the environmental challenges faced by the maritime industry and lead to additional solutions.

[1] Green Marine rules do not require new participants to publish their self-evaluation results in the first year of entering the program.   However, most of the new participants submitted a 2010 self-evaluation report to Green Marine and chose to publish their first-year results.