Towards a Sustainability Management System for Smaller Ports

Andrei Kuznetsov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Larger ports routinely deploy environmental management tools but systematic sustainability management in smaller ports is rare. Accordingly, this paper assesses the sustainability needs of smaller ports in Cornwall and Devon, a case-study, and proposes a systematic method for identifying and managing them. The development and deployment of a Port Sustainability Management System for smaller ports in an environmentally sensitive but economically peripheral UK area is discussed. In-depth collaboration with Harbour Masters to identify sustainability management practice revealed few applications of the theoretical elements of triple bottom line accounting. Rather, semi-structured interviews unearthed the essential elements of port management and facilitated mapping of the forces which underpin port sustainability practices. A constructivist grounded theory approach identified emerging concepts, common patterns and sustainability themes, which were synthesised into a Sustainability Management System based on 11 indicators of knowledge criteria and a self-scoring mechanism. Adopters reported a more proactive stance towards sustainability and safeguarding of local communities, improved understanding, and more effective discourse with stakeholders. Benefits spanned port improvements; awareness of progress, performance, strengths and weaknesses; enhanced communication and reporting; and improved thought processes. Almost all reacted positively and identified multiple benefits, equating to two new jobs in each port.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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