The Dutch Seaports –
Taking Sustainability on board

The Dutch Seaports are some of the world’s key logistics hubs for the storage and trans-shipment of international cargo flows. The branche Organisatie Zeehavens (BOZ) is a platform founded by seaport companies of Amsterdam, Groningen, Rotterdam, and Zeeland and serves the common interests of these ports.

Next to the traditional flows such as coal, minerals, cocoa, coffee, and tea, as well as the support for new cargo flows, supporting the transition towards bio-based and circular economies. The production of these flows involves, in some of the cases,  environmental damage, poor working conditions, or human rights violations, while enforcement and supervision are flawed.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE’s) calls upon all actors in the trade chain to actively reflect upon their position, potential responsibilities, and corresponding actions. The Dutch Seaports agreed to act together upon this call and asked Sustainalize to support.

Step-by-step action plan & evaluation

Together we carried out a CSR assessment on current and prospective cargo flows. The result was a selective list of cargo flows which need more focus by the port authorities. Furthermore, a step-by-step approach was developed on how to conduct due diligence. The approach helps individual ports to form their own plan at their own pace, while highlighting elements where cooperation between ports is required. AS support for the step-by-step approach Sustainalize conducted two pilot studies towards the role, influence and possibilities for seaports to promote responsible palm oil and e-waste flows. Finally, we conducted two pilot studies on the role, influence, and possibilities for seaports to promote responsible palm oil and e-waste flows.

The project was an important step in propelling the collaboration between the different ports in the area of CSR. This project showcased how the Dutch Seaports can influence multiple value chains. While strengthening the cohesion between and the knowledge within these Dutch Seaports.

License to operate

In 2020 is marked as the start of structural meetings between the different Sustainability Managers of the Dutch Seaport. The knowledge thus developed, has made the ports serious interlocutors for different stakeholder groups (NGOs, governments and commercial parties) and has therefore enhanced the ports’ license to operate.

Services provided
  • Sustainable Supply Chain
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"By helping us to examine the actual application of the OECD guidelines, Sustainalize gave the Dutch Seaports a perspective on how they can make a change as a link in the trade chain."

Linda van Waveren

Linda van Waveren

Program Manager CSR, Port of Amsterdam

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