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Ports and the Sustainable Development Goals: An Ecosystems Approach

Maurice Jansen (Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port and Transport Economics, The Netherlands)

International Business and Sustainable Development Goals

ISBN: 978-1-83753-505-7, eISBN: 978-1-83753-504-0

Publication date: 31 July 2023


Ports and port cities play a pivotal role toward the sustainable development of coastal ecosystems. These ecosystems provide their natural capital by offering favorable locations for industry and accessibility to world markets. While port industrial activities have been reactive to pressure from stakeholders, in more recent years ports have adapted inclusive strategies and seek to align their strategic intentions with stakeholders. Around the world, port authorities are aligning their ambitions toward their contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), such as the World Port Sustainability Program (WPSP) for port authorities and AIVP2030 for port cities. The aim of this chapter is to assess to what extent ports have contributed to the implementation of the SDGs. The analysis is based on a content analysis on a portfolio of 212 projects in which port authorities demonstrate leadership in sustainable development. The results indicate that the contributions of port and port city authorities are generally motivated to “do no harm.” Port authorities also have “do good” intentions for their ecosystems, which are mainly focused on reenforcing connections with communities and less to restore their impact on the biosphere. Furthermore, the findings show that linkages between WPSP projects with the SDGs are rather ambiguous. Directions are given toward a methodology for port authorities (PAs) to establish a stronger link between (monitoring) business strategies with the implementation of inclusive port development strategies to prevent using SDG reporting for greenwashing purposes.



Jansen, M. (2023), "Ports and the Sustainable Development Goals: An Ecosystems Approach", van Tulder, R., Giuliani, E. and Álvarez, I. (Ed.) International Business and Sustainable Development Goals (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 263-283.



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