Transforming the Lavrio Port to a sustainable paradigm

The Port of Lavrio is a medium-sized port situated at the Lavreotiki prefecture in Attica (Greece), having been characterized as a port of national and international importance (Gov. Gazette vol. B / no. 202/16-2-2007). It serves a wide range of activities including coastal shipping, yachts, cruise ships, fisheries, the commercial sector, as well as land exploitation and development. It is situated within a region of high historical and cultural importance, the Lavreotiki area, which was the largest silver-mining centre in both ancient and modern Greece. The mines and the general area are on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre10. Close to the port is the ‘Lavreotiki Geopark’, which is officially in the UNESCO global geopark network. The Port is managed by the “Lavrio Port Authority SA” and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund is its sole shareholder.

Due to the rapid pace of climate change, incremental innovation is no longer enough for preventing ‘catastrophic’ climate change effects – we need to act on all social, environmental and economic areas simultaneously, employing climate innovation that involves multiple stakeholders and innovates at all fronts (technological, political, social, cultural, financial etc). The Port of Lavrio would like to transition to a ‘green’ paradigm through working together with its stakeholder community to develop breakthrough innovation with positive economic, social, environmental impact and thus advancing the contribution of the Lavreotiki region to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



Ports are not to be regarded as a stand-alone business entity but as an indispensable and interconnected part of their community, with their activities influencing from local life to the global maritime sector. As part of the “Green Port Lavrio” vision, the first steps of a ‘systems innovation’ approach were implemented at the start of 2023 at the Port of Lavrio, in cooperation with the EIT Climate-KIC, aiming to a holistic transformation of the area. During the first phase of the systems innovation programme ‘Green Port Lavrio Deep Demonstration’ (Q1 2023), about 100 stakeholders, which related / could relate to the sustainable transition of the Port of Lavrio and surrounding area, were mapped, and interviews performed with key local and national stakeholders. Furthermore, a Funding Mapping tool was developed to collaboratively map public and private financing instruments at the European, national and/or regional levels (e.g. Horizon Europe, Recovery and Resilience, Climate Change or structural funds etc) to match actions envisaged from 2023 onwards.



To communicate the zero-carbon aspirations and the ‘Shared Vision’ to the wider stakeholder group and invite their participation to the next steps of the transformation process a flyer has been developed that will be shared with wide non-expert audiences, presenting a programme plan outlining the next phases of the long-term sustainability transformation process of the Port of Lavrio through a ‘systems innovation approach’.



The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has employed in 2021-2022 its HRADF ESG rating tool to evaluate the performance of all ports in their asset portfolio, including Lavrio. As a next step, the HRADF in cooperation with the research center “ATHENA” performed a benchmark analysis regarding the already measured performance of the Port of Lavrio against the ESG performance of other EU/global ports of its size, in order to better comprehend where the Port stands in comparison to other ports.


The next steps towards a sustainable port

The transformation towards a sustainable port is a long-term collaborative process with several phases. EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation initiative and community, has developed a systems innovation approach called “deep demonstration process” that comprises of the 4 phases below, that often take place interchangeably (as part of an iterative process):


It supports stakeholders to have a collective understanding, from various perspectives, of the system to be transformed, the challenges faced and develop together a vision for the future.

This phase brings relevant stakeholders around the table, from all aspects of life, to collectively understand the current situation and set together the ‘Intent’ for change.

It is mainly comprised of:

·          developing and aligning behind a ‘shared vision’ for the area/value chain to be transformed 

·          collective mapping exercises (mapping stakeholders, mapping challenges and opportunities, mapping existing on-the-ground projects and future plans, mapping funding sources to support innovation)


It supports stakeholders to co-develop a ‘systems innovation strategy’ for their value chain / geographical area and identify the role each one can play in the transformation.

Building on the stakeholder input from Phase 1, this phase culminates with a ‘systems innovation strategy’, indicating the areas where innovation can catalyse positive change and new opportunities.

It is mainly comprised of:

·      analysis of system maps developed in Phase 1 and identifying ‘sweet spots’ for innovation

·      gathering and reviewing inspirational innovation examples from across the world

·      developing a systems innovation strategy, based on solid principles


It co-develops a ‘systems portfolio’: a set of interconnected innovations (‘interventions’) that stakeholders can learn from and which help stakeholders bring their ‘shared vision to life.

This phase enables stakeholders to co-develop and deploy a portfolio of interconnected innovation in economic and social systems, according to the principles and direction set in the ‘systems innovation strategy’ (phase 2) and in service of the ‘shared vision’ (phase 1).


It Is mainly comprised of:

·      mobilising funding for innovation

·      co-designing and delivering innovation activities across the whole spectrum (policy, technology, behaviour change, finance etc)

·      active identification of synergies and complementarities between innovations / initiatives


It creates regular feedback loops enabling stakeholders to learn from their innovation efforts and iterate their course, if needed. This phase takes place in parallel with the other 3 phases and builds over time.

This phase takes place on a continuous basis, in parallel with phases 1-3. It supports stakeholders to revisit and evaluate their innovation efforts, understand the impact they are making and whether they need to iterate or change course, for greater transformation potential.


It Is mainly comprised of:

·      structured activities for active, actionable learning among diverse stakeholders


A Deep Demonstration is a collaborative process to identify, test at scale, and implement a range of connected innovative solutions. In Lavrio, we are bringing together public authorities, maritime industries, citizens and universities to explore innovative solutions for climate-neutral, circular port operations. This will help deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for everyone, creating a thriving port community.