When Vestas 11th Hour Racing set off to race around the world, they also set off on a mission to be the most sustainable team to ever compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, backed by the support of their two co-title partners Vestas and 11th Hour Racing. ‘Leading Sustainability,’ the team’s summary video of their efforts to accomplish this goal, reveals what it takes to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of a professional sports team, how this shared mission brought the team together, and how they addressed sustainability in the face of adversity.
Some key sustainability accomplishments of Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race:
The team calculated and offset their carbon footprint of 1218 tonnes of CO2 emitted. The offset will be carried out through Seagrass Grow, a program of the Ocean Foundation. It is estimated that seagrass is up to 35x more effective than Amazonian rainforests in their carbon uptake and storage abilities. Vestas 11th Hour Racing is the first Volvo Ocean Race team to track and offset their carbon footprint.
Through their legacy project with 11th Hour Racing, the team awarded $120,000 in grant funding to local environmental organizations ($10,000 at each stopover) to support and raise awareness to the incredible efforts happening worldwide to restore ocean health. (See Route Map below with names of organizations.)
By adopting Meatless Mondays, the team reduced their carbon footprint by 2.72 tonnes and prevented the use of 671,000 liters of water. These actions not only helped the team reduce their water usage and carbon footprint, but it helped them raise awareness of this global movement. In fact, if you eat just one less burger per week, over the course of a year, it’s the same as driving 320 miles less in your car.
92% of the team’s accommodations were within walking, biking, or public transport distance from the race villages. This careful planning enabled the team to reduce their reliance on cars and taxis as well as their overall carbon footprint.
99,300 people visited the public Exploration Zone in the team base, learning about renewable energy, ocean science, the circular economy, and microplastic pollution. Additionally, over 550,000 people viewed the team’s sustainability-focused videos on social media
The team was able to achieve a 74% diversion rate (62% recycling 13% composting) meaning that only 26% of their waste went to the landfill. By comparison, according to the World Economic Forum, Germany has the highest recycling rate in the world at 56%.
The team removed 212 kilos of trash from beaches. Combined with the 2.1 tons of abandoned fishing gear that will be removed from the ocean by 11th Hour Racing’s grantee Healthy Seas, the team will compensate for the waste they sent to landfill, and for the rig and sails lost overboard during their dismasting in the Southern Ocean.
On Saturday, February 10th the Spectra Venue Management team at Budweiser Gardens will launch its first ‘Green’ event when the London Knights face off against the Sudbury Wolves. “Over the last year, there has been a conscious effort by our team at Budweiser Gardens to evaluate our practices and procedures and look for ways that we can implement environmentally responsible practices.” Said Brian Ohl, General Manager of Budweiser Gardens. “This game will give us a great opportunity to share with the community some of the significant work that has been done and it is our hope that this will become an annual game while also adding additional Green events where possible.”
Spectra Venue Management has teamed up with the London Transit Commission to offer fans coming to the game the opportunity to ride on LTC busses for FREE beginning at 5pm and running through the end of service. Each fan will need to present a valid ticket for that night’s game to gain entry onto the bus. “We are grateful that the LTC has stepped up to work with us on this great initiative and provide the 9.000 plus fans coming for the game the opportunity to ride free of charge and reduce carbon emissions” said Ohl.
Each save that the Knight’s goaltender makes during the game will count beyond just the scoreboard as Spectra and ReForest London will launch the ‘Saves for Trees’ program at the game. For every save that a Knight’s goalie makes during the game a tree will be planted as part of the Million Tree Challenge, a community-wide project with the focus of planting one million more trees for environmental and human health in London, ON. Downtown London, the official game sponsor, has also agreed to match the total and will plant an equal number of trees. Fans at the game are also encouraged to join the Saves for Trees program by sponsoring a tree for $25.00.
The City of London will also be present at the game to promote several initiatives including London’s Clean & Green program which takes place on Earth Day, April 22nd. “The support that we have received from Jay Stanford and his team at the City of London has been tremendous and we look forward to continuing to work with them on many future projects,” said Ohl.
May is National Bike Month and May 15-19, 2017 is BiketoWork Week. Between 2000 and 2013, bicycle commuting rates in the United States increased by 62%. Bike commuting rates in large, bicycle-friendly communities – including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, St. Louis, Portland, and Washington, DC – increased by 105% over the same time period! Need convincing to hop on two wheels? Consider these facts:
Cycling benefits your health. Being active outside improves mental and physical well-being. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk for many health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
Cycling benefits the environment…and your wallet. Leaving your car behind for even one trip saves fuel and reduces air pollution. In 2015, traffic congestion in the US wasted about three billion gallons of fuel and kept drivers stuck in their vehicles for more than seven billion extra hours! The total cost of all that congestion? $160 billion or $960 per commuter.
Try cycling towork or school just one day this week. Research has shown that the length of about half of all car trips – three miles – can be covered as quickly on a bike when parking and traffic delays are taken into account. These resources will help you on your way:
Find National Bike Month and BiketoWork Week events in your community.
Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) before you head out. When the AQI hits “Code Orange,” sensitive groups, including people with asthma, lung disease or heart disease, may experience health effects from air pollution. When you need to, adjust your outdoor activities to reduce the amount of pollution you breathe in.
No bike? Try carpooling or walking towork or school instead.
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