Sustainability: ‘When in Doubt, Leave it to the Market’

“Whenever it’s becoming too difficult to fix sustainability goals in contracts with suppliers, just leave it open,” says Andre van Hassent, Asset Manager at Port of Rotterdam. “Taking a chance by stimulating the market’s initiatives by creating incentives will yield great results.”

Van Hassent spoke about the subject in anticipation of his presentation at the Dredging Today Conference, early October.

For the Maasvlakte 2 area, the Port of Rotterdam together with stakeholders and environmental organizations created ambitious sustainability goals, including ones for the whole supply chain. “At first we aimed to include all norms and sustainability goals in our contracts, shutting all the loopholes. But at some point it became almost impossible to manage. For instance, how would we be sure the right fuel is used if the bunkering is done at another port?”

The Port of Rotterdam found that incentivising contractors, for instance by extending contracts, leads to impressive initiatives, Van Hassent says. “We simply asked for ‘significant sustainability improvements’, nothing much more detailed than that. This is a very mature market, so leaving space for development will make it much easier to manage, and we’ve seen contractors eagerly taking their responsibilities.”

Van Hassent hopes his presentation will be visited by the likes of contractors, consultants and port authorities. He will share more details and successful examples on the subject of ‘sustainability in dredging contracts’ at the Dredging Today Conference, 9 & 10 October at RAI Amsterdam.