Circular Economy in the Greek marine and ship repair communities (2019)

by Pavlopoulou, Yanna, (ERSCP 2019) 19th European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumptions and Production Institute for Sustainability Science and Technology, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, 15-18 October 2019.


Shipyards operations are an environmental menace and their sustainability, during economic recession, is globally threatened. Efficient port reception facilities and circular economy initiatives could foster local communities’ prosperity and sectoral clusters’ growth. The European and Greek national legal requirement that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics are to be regularly recorded in a business Sustainability or Financial Report, could assist the marine sector in tackling operational issues. The challenge is how to practically link eco-efficiency (from the economic and ecologic aspect) to the shared benefit of the ship repair business and society at large. The issue at stake is whether circular economy and blue growth parameters could become widely used in order to maximize the creation of shared value for ship builders, ship repairers and their stakeholders. This study aimed to explore views on partnerships that address the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to be achieved till 2030. This study is based upon a qualitative analysis of a survey and on interviews from marine managers, over preferred circular economy critical performance factors. Questions referred on innovative solutions to short term practical problems. The emerging challenge is to proactively implement a circular economy strategic plan for Greek ports and shipyards, mitigating ESG regulation risks. Moreover, the survey focused on synergies among sectoral partners and stakeholders and on possible shared value of corporate performance. The outcome is that marine businesses are not aware of the forthcoming national plan on Circular economy and the expected enhanced business results. Forward thinkers in the marine business could responsibly lead social progress, by raising awareness over the benefits of self-governance, for the sake of their own sustainability. Regulators could reconsider societal needs (i.e. unemployment, water and waste management), proposing synergistic national tax incentives, eco-industrial clusters, tokenization and offset investments. Clusters can enhance dialogue among businesses and their stakeholders not based on “values” but on “value” (a business-driven approach). The national marine policy makers could encourage innovative initiatives and synergies, beyond minimum environmental compliance. Responsible leaders already build partnerships and undertake collective action, considering social expectations and diverse business development opportunities. In parallel, regulatory efforts could reconsider the cost of enforcement and spatial planning ashore and divert funds and resources in research and development of circular economy systems, adequately standardized. Raising awareness, sharing a common top down vision and culture, can drastically improve business performance. Further, the marine community could collectively advance through a socially responsible attitude and stakeholders’ engagement.


circular economy, ESG, marine business, shipyards, ports

Find the respective pdf here.


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