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Environmental Justice Primer for Ports Good Neighbor Roadmap: Step 2. Build Relationships

Link to Environmental Justice Primer HomeLink to Section A Environmental Justice Primer for PortsLink to Environmental Justice Primer Section BLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 1, Assess Your Community Engagement ApproachLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 2, Build RelationshipsLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 3, Identify Community Concerns and GoalsLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 4, Identify Levers for ChangeLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 5, Develop a Good Neighbor Strategic PlanLink to Environmental Justice Primer Step 6, Act, Measure and Sustain ProgressLink to Environmental Justice Primer Appendix

Building strong relationships with community members and other diverse stakeholder groups is a prerequisite for effective community engagement and addressing environmental justice concerns. Once your port’s community engagement policy is in place, it is time to identify stakeholders and their needs, interests and priorities.  Ports can be a driver of change by serving as a coordinator. While ports only directly cause some of the impacts experienced by near-port communities, they can bring other stakeholders to the table to build a more effective, collaborative approach to addressing these impacts.

On this page:


Try It Out! Identify Key Stakeholders by Group

Identify community groups using the table below. Use this list as a starting point for outreach to community groups. Consult with them to identify additional community partners to ensure key stakeholders are not excluded and that diverse perspectives are well represented.
 
 
 
  Stakeholder Groups
Community Resident Groups  
Community-Based Partners  
Local Unions  
Tribes  
Local Educational Institutions  
Environmental Groups  
Government Stakeholders  
Internal Port Stakeholders  
Port-Sector Stakeholders  
Local Businesses  

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Digging Deeper Exercise

Based on the stakeholders identified in the table to the left, answer the following questions:

  • How would you characterize the port’s relationship with each stakeholder group, especially near-port residential communities?
  • Is the port’s engagement more frequent with some groups than others? If so, why?
  • Is the port’s engagement more positive with some groups than others? If so, why?
  • What are the most persistent roadblocks to developing positive relationships with adjacent residential communities?
  • Who are the (real or perceived) winners and the (real or perceived) losers in a specific action or project?

Stakeholder Interests and Outreach

Outreach to groups and organizations can be tailored using stakeholder interests mapping, which captures community and stakeholder interests, current levels of engagement and gaps in relationships as well as opportunities for collaboration. In framing community and stakeholder interests and opportunities for collaboration, outreach can broaden beyond environmental concerns to include opportunities such as job training, student education and community cleanup activities.

Focus on developing strong relationships between the port and community partners by sharing your commitment to working together and developing services and programs built around that goal. Once core relationships are in place with the near-port community, reach out to additional stakeholders. Developing cross-sector support and collaboration opportunities can help ensure buy-in and effective implementation.

 

Know Your Community

As you build relationships and conduct outreach, try to gain an understanding of: (a) community assets and liabilities; (b) community challenges, including health, employment, education and quality-of-life concerns; and (c) community aspirations and goals. Tips include:

  • Build relationships with key community decision makers. See how you can help them and what the community needs.
  • Be open to the possibility that community members want to collaborate with you and have valid concerns that need to be addressed.
  • Research what else is going on in the community. Understanding current events will help you communicate in an informed manner and build relationships. It may also spark new ideas about ways that you can offer resources and assistance.
  • Consider the benefits of paying community representatives for their time consulting with you about the community’s needs. Compensation is a sign of respect for their time and knowledge.

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Community Outreach Example: Port of Bellingham, Washington


The Port of Bellingham has a comprehensive community outreach strategy:

  1. Programs and Events: host annual public events around the community’s culture, recreation and sustainability, and offer educational programs for schools and organizations.
  2. Services: welcome opportunities to involve advisory groups, listen to ideas and comments, and meet with community members.
  3. Newsletters: publish quarterly community and marina newsletters.
  4. Responsibilities: share port’s responsibility for economic development and environmental cleanups.

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Try It Out! Map Stakeholder Interests

Use the table below to capture your current understanding of stakeholder interest, levels of engagement and opportunities for collaboration. You may need to revisit and refine this information following completion of Step 3.

Stakeholder Group Stakeholder Interests Current Level of Engagement Which Interests Need More Engagement?
Community Resident Groups      
Community-Based Partners      
Local Unions      
Tribes      
Local Educational Institutions      
Environmental Groups      
Government Stakeholders      
Internal Port Stakeholders      
Port-Sector Stakeholders      
Local Businesses      

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