Published back in 2012, the ESPO “Green Guide; towards excellence in port environmental management and sustainability” defines the sector’s vision on environmental governance and establishes a structured approach that European ports subscribe to while tackling their environmental liabilities. European ports express their commitment to work towards continuously improving their environmental performance through focused action under five Es; Exemplify, Enable, Encourage, Engage and Enforce. Overall, the ESPO Green Guide favors a bottom-up approach, in which port authorities are proactively taking responsibility and living up to the expectations of the community. It encourages ports to be responsible for their own initiatives, to benchmark their performance, and to deliver science-based evidence of achievements.

The ESPO Green Guide specifically addresses 5 major environmental issues, namely; air quality, energy and climate, noise, waste management and water quality. The guide is the outcome of the common work of port environmental professionals around Europe under the umbrella of the sustainability committee of ESPO. The guide is accompanied by a best practice database that promotes existing port projects and inspires new ones.