Port gets sustainability awardPublished 9:58pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Virginia Port Authority has won a gold medal in the Governor’s Excellence Awards for the sustainability program at facilities it owns or leases, including APM Terminals and Portsmouth Marine Terminals.
Virginia is the nation’s only port with container terminals certified under the international ISO 14001 environmental certification process, according to a VPA news release.
The award recognizes organizations or facilities that can show evidence of the success of their programs, the release states.
“The sustainability award form provides applicants multiple ways to document that their organization is operating in a sustainable manner,” a Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality statement on judging criteria says.
VPA’s sustainability program has resulted in a “cultural shift” in terminal operations that makes the environment and safety key factors in decision making, stated Heather Wood, VPA’s director of environmental affairs.
“All of our industry partners, customers, and facility neighbors recognize and support the VPA’s efforts to improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impacts,” she stated.
The program is behind annual sustained reductions of 30 percent in air emissions and 40 percent in water quality impacts, the release states.
It has also seen the “creation, restoration and preservation” of 50 acres of riparian buffer, tidal and non-tidal wetlands, open space, shallow water habitat and oyster reefs, with another 170 acres for the next decade, plus a 40-percent decline in utility costs from port security operations and HVAC and lighting improvements at Norfolk International Terminals.