In 2009, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) initiated the annual award on Societal Integration of Ports to systematically promote innovative port projects that enhance port city relations. An independent jury of international experts assesses the yearly submitted projects and decides on the winner who is rewarded with the prestigious award in a dedicated ceremony in Brussels. The award has a different thematic focus each year within the broader scope of societal integration, ranging from communicating strategies, to projects addressing education and youth, nature and environment, heritage, arts and culture, and ports’ working environment. The ESPO Award has so far provided visibility to more than 160 European port projects and continues to inform the general public on the ports’ efforts on societal integration and to inspire more ports to engage in similar actions.
In parallel with the award, ESPO published in 2010 it’s code of practice on Societal Integration of Ports. The code of practice establishes societal integration as an essential component of port governance. By bringing together existing practical experience, the code provides guidance and inspiration to ports on optimising the relations with their surrounding communities.