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52 Super Series is Setting Trends in Sustainability

By 52 Super Series

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By partnering with 11th Hour Racing in early 2015, the 52 Super Series made a formal, public commitment to tackle its carbon footprint head-on, and begin working to minimise its impact on the environment.

Fast forward three season to where we are now, and today, the 52 Super Series has exceeded its own expectations and is setting trends in sustainability. A hot topic, sustainability has gained its own momentum, and is embraced by competing teams, as well as local host organisations and partners. The 52 Super Series is changing minds and visibly making a difference wherever it goes.

Over the last few decades, the exploitation and degradation of our planet has gone up at an alarming rate. And whilst there is now a real public consensus about the fragile state of things, more often than not, good intent doesn’t translate into meaningful action. The 52 Super Series has been fighting to break that cycle by coupling positive messages with the power of sport. As a team of sailors who love and respect the sea, protecting the racing arena was a natural place to start.

It began with an official announcement, quickly followed up by the formation of a host agreement set out to align 52 Super Series host venues with certain environmental standards, such as waste management. Competing teams were immediately notified about the new strategic direction and encouraged to send a representative to the newly-regular sustainability meetings. The 52 Super Series joined the Green Sports Alliance, and worked hand-in-hand with 11th Hour Racing to develop an all-encompassing sustainability plan that addressed each layer of the organisation.

With new eco-friendly foundations, the newly appointed Sustainability Team started driving forward. In the public fight against single-use plastic, the 52 Super Series has completely removed plastic from its entire operation. No longer is plastic found in lunch packaging, included in lunches as cutlery or distributed by way of grab-and-go water bottles. A model for all sports, this alone has withdrawn a possible 60,000 bottles from circulation.

But plastic is only the tip of the iceberg. So too, have organisers found ways to improve the water supply, waste policies, food provision, fuel usage, materials and transport provision. The list of individual initiatives and policies employed by the 52 Super Series is really quite extensive, and three years down the line, it’s clear that other people and organisations are now seeing this, listening to the arguments, and carrying the important message forward in their own lives.

Sustainability Director for the 52 Super Series, Lars Böcking, reflects on the progress made:

“We are a small, but passionate team who are learning every day. We are incredibly proud of the progress we have made over the last three years. It is our goal to reduce our environmental footprint to nill, or even better: leave each place in better shape than the way we found it, but there is still some way to go.

Regarded as the best monohull racing circuit in the world, the 52 Super Series is a hotbed of top class sailing talent. All eyes are on us. We will reflect on the good work we have done and continue in our important role as influencers in sustainability.”

Given the success of the practical elements that make up part of the Sustainability Plan, the 52 Super Series is now very much focussed on the next steps, on using its influence in new ways.

Read the complete story here.

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Sailing Team Brings Enviro Message to Global Race

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Captain/environmentalist Charlie Enright, at the helm. Photo: Courtesy of James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

Captain/environmentalist Charlie Enright, at the helm. Photo: Courtesy of James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

When Mark Towill and Charlie Enright met at Brown University, they were coming from two very different places but had one important thing in common.

“We’ve always shared a passion for the ocean and the wider environment. It’s been part of who we are since we were young, growing up in Hawaii and Rhode Island. The backdrops maybe have been different, but declining marine health and the effects of climate change were fast becoming evident,” says Enright.

Next month, Towill and Enright will lead the Vestas 11th Hour Racing Team as they embark on a sailing race around the world. But while there’s a laser focus on winning, there’s also a serious commitment to spreading the message of sustainability.

Sailing has only solidified the pair’s feelings about the ocean and what that means to their friends and families.

“Together, we’ve decided to take action, [to] become ambassadors for a sustainable future, working with organizations that are aligned with our vision in Vestas and 11th Hour Racing,” Enright says. “As sailors and ocean ambassadors, we’re aware of the enjoyment [the world’s oceans] can bring, as well as the challenges and the peril.

“We’ve taken in breathtaking scenery, yet have witnessed many things that should never have found their way there, like refrigerators, tires, containers and pallets. The oceans deserve our respect and it’s our responsibility to highlight the issues, to be good role models and inspire change.

“We have only explored about five percent of the world’s oceans, yet they’re the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, driving weather, regulating temperature and ultimately supporting all living organisms.”

The grueling endurance challenge is the Volvo Ocean Race, a multi-leg sailing competition that circles the world. It runs every three years and goes back to 1973. The race starts in the Spanish port of Alicante on Oct. 22 and sails to 11 ports, finishing in the Hague (Netherlands) in June 2018.

Read the full story here.

World Sailing Commence Journey to Sustainability Agenda 2030

World Sailing’s Sustainability Commission

World Sailing’s Sustainability Commission have taken the first steps to creating a ‘Sustainability Agenda 2030’ following their first meeting in London, Great Britain from 29-30 August 2017.

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Sustainability Commission group at the World Sailing Head Office in London PHOTO CREDIT: World Sailing

The leading group of experts, chaired by Mike Golding OBE, were appointed to the commission in June 2017 – click here to read more on the members. The meeting at World Sailing’s Executive Office brought the group together for the first time to discuss key issues relating to sustainability within sailing.

Discussions and presentations were received on the circular economy, ocean plastics, boat and equipment construction, event logistics, embodied carbon, vessel strikes of marine fauna, accessibility, gender equality, and supply chains.

The Commission, made up of members with scientific, sporting and sailing backgrounds, discussed where World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, can make change and influence the industry. Rules changes and phased implementation were highlighted as two feasible areas of influence.

The result of the discussion was to create a ‘Sustainability Agenda 2030’ whereby a vision for key objectives for the sport to be achieved by 2030 were discussed prioritised and documented.

These vary between event standards, water quality standards, technical standards, research, training, equality targets, reporting and partnerships.

World Sailing will present its ‘Sustainability Agenda 2030’ to the World Sailing Council for adoption at the World Sailing Annual Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in November 2017.

Furthermore, working with key stakeholders and members, World Sailing plans to create a central resource base which will showcase sustainability related tools, documents and information that is accessible to a global audience.

Read the full story here.

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