Ports are going clean and green: Amsterdam announced that it will give discounts on port fees to ships with high scores on the Environmental Ship Index (i.e. lower air emissions than required by International Maritime Organization standards), and San Diego, California, has started a Green Business Challenge for port tenants to improve their environmental performance. But in terms of global throughput, eight of the 10 top ports in the world are in Asia—Shanghai just overtook Singapore last year as the busiest port in the world.

With new funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, BSR will build on our experience with the Clean Cargo Working Group in evaluating environmental performance of freight carriers, and extend supply chain sustainability to ports and terminal operators. As global customers look to their logistics and transportation supply chains for carbon efficiency, they increasingly have information about relative carbon emissions of different routes or transport types, but they are still lacking good comparable data on the overall environmental performance of ports. Through this new initiative, we will work with companies and stakeholders to understand ports’ most significant sustainability issues and develop a comprehensive framework for ports to consistently report relevant metrics—thereby aligning port sustainability efforts with existing global supply chain sustainability frameworks.

Because our project is international in scope but focused on ports in China, we will work to harness the best of what has been put in place in ports globally (including efforts here in Asia like the Fair Winds Charter) but ground it in the local context. We are excited to expand this part of our transportation work to a new node of the supply chain, and we look forward to sharing our progress along the way.

Happy Year of the Rabbit!