Transnational networks, standards and the ‘greening’ of ports: Cases from Europe and West Africa


Eric Tamatey Lawer

Michael Flitner

Sea ports remain a backbone to the world economy, facilitating and enabling the global flow of goods, ideas and people making them crucial hubs in the functioning of global value chains. However, port operations also have adverse impacts on the environment and local communities. Consequently, port authorities are facing pressure from the public and international arena to demonstrate a higher environmental and social performance as sustainability has become a topical concern globally.

Recently, the ‘green port’ concept has emerged as a powerful port development discourse which has been used to describe various notions of sustainable port management and development. As ports are indispensable nodes of supply chains involving many strategic stakeholders; several transnational cooperation, collaborations and alliances have been formed between port authorities, port operating companies, port cities and technology companies for a range of purposes including improving the environmental and social performance of ports across the globe in the form of environmental upgrading in global supply chains. Examples include port environmental networks such as the EcoPorts network, the World Port Climate Initiative, and the African Ports Environment Initiative. The assumption is that such collaborations will facilitate the production of knowledge, benchmarking best practices and standards and facilitate their transfer for the ‘greening’ of ports.

The overreaching theme of the research is to explore the concept of ‘green ports’ and the emerging transnational networks and standards for the ‘greening’ of ports in European and West African contexts based on literature reviews and qualitative research tools such as interviews, participant observations and focus group interviews.

Eric Tamatey Lawer M.Phil.


Universität Bremen
Forschungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit
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28359 Bremen

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