Environmental Responsibility

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP, for its Spanish acronym) recognizes the need to manage the waterway with criteria that take into consideration the progress of its stakeholders [the Panamanian people], Canal users, communities, and other players involved. Therefore, its mission is oriented towards concepts of development and environmental sustainability.

The ACP’s environmental strategy is based on three main points:

    • compliance with the responsibility of managing and preserving the water resource of the Canal Watershed;
    • efficient operation of the Canal; and
    • protection of the environment and fostering sustainable development of the Watershed.

The strategy, with its main points of action, and ACP’s mission are coherent with agreements, laws, and other commitments of the Panama Canal.

As part of its environmental and social strategies, the ACP promotes an integrated water resources management to ensure its availability in quantity and quality, thus guaranteeing the reliability in the continuous operation of the services it offers both to the national and international community, and with the participation and collaboration of a population that enhances its quality of life by satisfying its basic needs.

It is worth emphasizing that the vision and mission of the ACP propose the integration of the surroundings in which the Canal operates and its inhabitants.  In accordance with this new vision, the ACP subscribed the United Nations Global Compact in December 2002 and, in August 2002, became a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  Furthermore, the ACP follows international standards such as the Equator Principles (EPs) in dealing with environmental impact assessment.

In subscribing to these agreements, the Panama Canal Authority reiterates its commitment to take into account the environmental and social aspects in all of its activities and projects to avoid or minimize possible negative impacts.  On a yearly basis, the ACP publishes a report focusing on main activities and achievements to improve conditions of its workers, human rights, and the environment. See Reports.


Environmental Management

As an environmentally committed organization, the ACP develops and puts into practice several programs in order to guarantee that all Canal operations are carried out with the required protection and conservation of the quality of its surroundings. As a follow-up to this commitment towards the protection of the environment, within its daily activities, it focuses on prevention.

The establishment of preventive measures to avoid environmental degradation is a priority for the Panama Canal.  Thus, the ACP relies on its Environment, Water, and Energy Department, which through its Environment Division puts in practice criteria based on applicable legislation since the year 2000.  The Canal seeks environmental protection in all its activities, products, and services it offers, and complies with laws, regulations, and pertinent existing standards for its operations.

Every day it bears witness to the effort given to promote an increased responsibility utilizing the highest environmental management standards.  The Environment Division has an Environmental Management System (EMS) that is an administrative model to comply with policies and environmental regulations governing the business.  It is certified under ISO 14001-2004 standards.

We are the Green Route

Every day it bears witness to the effort given to promote an increased responsibility utilizing the highest environmental management standards. The Environment Division has an Environmental Management System (EMS) that is an administrative model to comply with policies and environmental regulations governing the business. It is certified under ISO 14001-2004 standards.

    • Contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the planet, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), when offering to 5% of the maritime trade the alternative of transporting great volumes of cargo through a safe and efficient, both in time as in costs, all-water route.
    • Carries out actions to assure environmental management in the Panama Canal operations and compliance with its socio-environmental commitment in the Canal Watershed.
    • A plan is being worked out to establish the ACP as a carbon neutral organization.

Thus, the ACP seeks to keep and to increase Canal revenues and assure prosperity of the worldwide maritime trade in the long run; and besides, to provide incentives and to establish the best quality practices in the industry, to enhance efficiency and support global efforts faced up with a climatic change.

Besides the progress obtained by the Canal in its environmental programs in operational areas as well as in the Watershed, the ACP is progressing to consolidate itself as a neutral carbon organization.  This reiterates its vision of being a global leader in services for the maritime industry and the sustainable development for the conservation of the Panama Canal Watershed; and with its mission of managing and preserving the Canal water resources and actively participating in the protection of the environment and in the sustainable development of the hydrographic Watershed.

The ACP seeks to mitigate the impact of its activities and to reduce its carbon footprint in a proactive way.  Therefore, its goal is to carry out compensation activities with the purpose of balancing in a sustainable way greenhouse gas emission of the organization, through the execution of projects that could generate carbon credits.

In general, with this initiative it is expected to:

    • Establish a baseline of CO2 emissions of ACP operations and of the ships transiting the Panama Canal compared to alternate routes.
    • Carry out compensation activities of CO2 emissions that promote the change of land use to recover the vegetation cover and preserve existing forests.
    • Improve the quality of life for the communities of the Canal Watershed.
    • Aggregate value to shipping industries and Canal customers recognizing the reductions of CO2 for using the route through Panamá.
    • Contribute with international efforts in the reduction of CO2 emissions of the planet.