PORT of Newcastle has reported its third consecutive five-star Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) ranking.

The port scored 96 out of a possible 100, which is its highest score to date. It scored 95 last year and 92 in 2021, up from 75 in 2020.

GRESB is an environmental, social and governance benchmarking tool designed to provide to gauge organisations’ performance over time and in comparison with other organisations.

“For the world’s largest coal port to go from a GRESB score of 40 in our first assessment in 2019 to 96 in 2023 is a remarkable achievement and our continuous improvement shows that we have truly embedded ESG as a core principle across our business and our culture,” Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said.

He said the port has been working toward diversification and a more sustainable future.

“Our Clean Energy Precinct will position us as a leading production, storage and export hub for future sustainable, clean energy products and technologies including hydrogen and green ammonia,” Mr Carmody said.

“Our port now handles over 25 different types of cargoes and last year despite challenging environmental conditions we saw strong trade volumes across a number of export commodities including wheat, meals and grains exports and increased roll-on-roll-off project cargo including wind turbine components.”

Port of Newcastle chief financial officer and ESG strategy lead Nick Livesey said the five-star GRESB rating recognises the top 20% of surveyed companies globally.

“Our diversified trade expansion and projects are supported by the work we have also completed to extend the scope of our 100% renewable power purchase agreement, complete a port-wide energy efficient lighting upgrade, renew our EcoPorts certification and switch our entire port fleet to electric vehicles,” he said.

“Our GRESB score recognises Port of Newcastle’s focused improvements in promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace as an employer of choice in the region, and our expanded delivery of health and wellbeing initiatives to support staff, including our WORK180 endorsement, flexible work arrangements and career development opportunities.”

Port of Newcastle said in the last 12 months it has reduced Scope 1 and Scope 2 targets, set an “ambitious” Scope 3 target and became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact among other initiatives.

“Our sustainability initiatives and the GRESB assessment process act as a gap analysis for the port, enabling us to identify opportunities where we can strengthen our environmental, social, governance targes and actions, and better support its ongoing implementation across the organisation,” Mr Livesey said.

“This is a wonderful achievement and recognition of the dedication, collaboration and commitment of the many teams across the port who have been working to make ESG a core part of our business and our culture in recent years.”

Port of Newcastle plans to undertake GRESB benchmarking annually. The port’s ESG Strategy sets out a commitment to net zero by 2040.

“We understand the importance of ESG to our customers, shareholders and our staff and are committed to delivering strong ESG outcomes to build a sustainable and resilient Port for the future, one that continues to support local jobs and a prosperous Hunter economy,” Mr Carmody said.