Green Award sets the highest standards for safe and environmentally friendly shipping operations



Jan Fransen, Managing Director, Green Award Foundation, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


By rewarding high safety and environmental standards in shipping, the Green Award makes above standard ship operation economically more attractive. The Green Award certification scheme is open to crude oil and product tankers and dry bulk carriers from 20,000 DWT and upwards.

From 1994 onwards, certificate holders of a Green Award certified vessel have received a premium equal to 6% of the charged port fee from the Port of Rotterdam for each call. Shortly thereafter the Port of Sullom Voe followed this example. Today over 48 ports grant an incentive to Green Award certified vessels. These ports can be found in Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and New Zealand. Apart from port incentives, several maritime service providers, such as the Dutch Pilot organisation or European port reception facilities, are granting an incentive as well.

The organisation

The Green Award Foundation was founded in Rotterdam in 1994 with a grant from the Port of Rotterdam and its Dutch Ministry of Transport. The Foundation has its offices in Rotterdam and is ruled by Dutch law. The Foundation is now independent, impartial, and governed by a Committee, along with a Board of Experts, both of which include key figures from within the international shipping industry. The Foundation derives its income from an annual audit fee. During the first years of the organisation’s development, income was mainly derived from subsidies by the Port of Rotterdam and the Dutch Ministry of Transport. One of the success factors of the organisation was financial independence. This was achieved on 1st January 2000.

The objective

The main objective of the Green Award Foundation is to promote the safe and environmentally friendly operation of ships, mainly by achieving international acceptance of (inter)national conventions, legislation and developments in the area of ship design, equipment, crew, operations and management. This is obtained by high but manageable survey requirements that are verified both at the ship owner/manager’s office and on each individual vessel. Certification with available incentives in turn creates a desire for participation.

The Foundation had two main tasks; to get the system internationally accepted by committed incentive providers and to certify ship owners/managers with their respective vessels.

The Certification procedure

The Green Award procedure is carried out by the Bureau Green Award, the executive body of the independent non-profit Green Award Foundation. The certification procedure consists of an office audit and an audit of each individual ship applying for certification. For a ship, a Green Award certificate is, subject to annual verification, valid for three years.

The requirements for certification address issues and operations directly related to safety, quality management, ship design, and matters affecting the marine environment. The surveys and audits are carried out in such a way that continuous improvement is encouraged. The requirements are constantly adapted to high but workable standards based on best practice and sound management. It should be emphasised that compliance with these requirements greatly improves environmental performance both in port and at sea.

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