"Sustainable development" is defined as the development that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, a general objective assumed by the entire Society. The companies form part of the Society, and are therefore responsible for achieving this common objective.

Initially (Rio de Janeiro Convention) most of the performance indicators used to demonstrate the contribution of the different acting parties in the achievement of these objectives, were environmental. Subsequently, other factors were taken into consideration such as energy efficiency, maximum performance attained from raw materials, better use of natural resources, that is to say, all that meant saving, due to which economic factors were incorporated along with the environmental ones. Taking into account that all of this would not make sense without the human and social factors, the three pillars which we currently call as the Corporate Social Responsibility of the companies, or in other words Sustainability, come into being.

There exist some definitions of what CSR is or should be. The European Commission puts forward the following definition: "A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis." And, who are these interest groups? They are the individuals or social groups, with a legitimate interest, who find themselves affected by the present or future actions of the companies.

Corporate social responsibility is more than the compliance with laws and rules, giving its due respect and its strict fulfilment. To this effect, the labour laws and its relative regulations are the starting point. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or Enterprise Social Responsibility (ESR), as it is also known, is the business strategy of the companies which takes into account all the aspects of their activities and operations may have on their clients, employees, shareholders, local communities, environment and on the society in general. The CSR is not exclusively an exercise that has been known as a "social act". It is relevant to say that the CSR is not a new requirement of obligatory fulfilment by the companies.

The ports constitute one of the main sources of economic activities and employment of the country, and play a fundamental role in the economic activity of its environment. The Spanish ports have evolved over the last few years, increasing, if anything, their impact on the economic activity and integrating themselves into the cities where they are located. CSR also fits into the framework of this evolution that the ports are undergoing, providing a new perspective in order to make economic activity complementary and compatible with sustainable development, uniting the social and human aspects with the economic and environmental aspects. As the port of Cartagena is one of the most important infrastructures of the Spanish Levante (the regions of Murcia and Valencia), and as such, cannot be separated from this development; hence it takes the initiative to promote the integration of CSR into the activities of the companies and people that form the Port Community.