First ever International Maritime Charter for sustainable ports worldwide

Monday 26 02 2018

The World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) charter will be signed in Antwerp on 22 March. During a two-day conference, sustainable ports around the world will set out the guidelines for their commitment to achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. As the organiser of this event the port of Antwerp is further positioning itself as a pioneer in making ports a sustainable link in the worldwide supply chain.


A world first

This new maritime SDG charter is a world first", explains Eric de Deckere, Sustainable Transition Manager for Antwerp Port Authority and CSR (Corporate Social Responsability) Professional of the Year. "The aim is to implement the 17 UN's sustainability goals in five specific areas (future-proof infrastructure, climate and energy, social integration, safety and security, ethical policy) each of which can involve various action programmes."

Eric de Deckere, Sr Technisch Manager Sustainable Transition Havenbedrijf Antwerpen


Antwerp hosts World Ports Sustainability Program

It is no coincidence that the worldwide maritime sustainability charter is being signed in Antwerp.

The Antwerp port community has long played a pioneering role when it comes to sustainability," says Eric de Deckere. "We pursue an active policy in this area, and many inspiring examples can already be found within our platform. Together with the other players in the port, Antwerp Port Authority seeks to create sustainable added value so as to reconcile the economic, social and ecological interests. We aim to play a leading role in the Hamburg–Le Havre range by taking a forefront position in the field of sustainability."

From climate to sustainability

The origins of the WPSP lie in the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI) that was launched in 2008 by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) in collaboration with regional port organisations. With the signature of the World Ports Climate Declaration, 55 international ports committed themselves to measures for combating climate change. 

Patrick Verhoeven, managing director IAPH

IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven explains:

"This resulted in among other things concrete initiatives such as the environmental ship index, onshore power for ships in port, LNG as a bunkering fuel, measuring the carbon footprint of port activities, and hybrid or electric-powered port equipment. Ten years later the focus has been broadened from climate to corporate social responsibility in the wide sense of the term. This is because international ports are constantly challenged to reconcile sustainable development with further industrial growth. It was therefore considered necessary to develop from the WPCI to the WPSP: the World Ports Sustainability Program, a programme that aims to make a significant contribution towards achieving the 17 Sustainability Development Goals set by the United Nations."


Visit the WPSP website

CSR-Professional of the Year: Eric de Deckere


Eric de Deckere, Sr Technisch Manager Sustainable Transition Havenbedrijf Antwerpen

Eric de Deckere is one of the driving forces behind WPSP. He has been chosen by Time4Society as CSR Professionals of the Year. This award recognises people who are pacemakers for Corporate Social Responsibility within their own company. Eric has ensured that Antwerp Port Authority has taken full account of CSR in its business plan. This means that CSR is increasingly integrated into the work of all departments, ranging from sustainable mobility and a healthy catering charter to sustainability criteria for contract specifications, ethical investment and much more besides.

The Port Authority plays a facilitating role within the port community in the transition to a sustainable port. The newly formed Sustainable Transition department within the Port Authority will give structural form to the CSR policy and ensure further realisation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which have now been included in the port community's Vision 2030.


Discover the efforts within the port of Antwerp to achieve the SDG's.