11th Hour Racing is the Founding Principal Partner of the Sustainability Programme of the Volvo Ocean Race – working together we’ve created an in-depth and thorough approach to turning an around-the-world ocean race into a platform that highlights sustainability and is a leader in the green sports movement. The Volvo Ocean Race is a 45,000-mile, 9-month race that stops in 12 cities each with their own environmental issues and sustainability challenges. Unlike most stadiums that stay in one place, the Volvo Ocean Race has two sets of identical ‘stadiums’ created out of shipping containers that piggyback around the world, getting set up in taken down.
The Volvo Ocean Race sustainability plan is formed around three tenets:
Minimize Our Footprint
This effort has focused on looking internally at the race’s footprint with a particular focus on reducing, and when possible eliminating, single-use plastic in the Race Villages. This was known to be a challenging task but thus far has been successfully achieved, even when challenges have arisen such as the drought in Cape Town.
Maximize Our Impact
The race has a global platform with millions of followers and an even larger media reach. Just this month, the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team captured incredible footage of feeding whales and sent a conservation message back to shore for all to see. As such, the race is dedicated to using their global communications platform to spread awareness and action on ocean health and plastic pollution. Additionally, an educational program has been created centered around sustainability, and Ocean Summits at seven stopovers bringing together science, government, sport, and business to discuss solutions.
Leave a Positive Legacy
Looking to the future, and recognizing the unique opportunity, the race has a science program dedicated to collecting data in remote locations. The boats sail to many places that scientists rarely get to go, so the race organizers turned the boats into data gathering machines. This information is given to leading science programs such as NOAA and GEOMAR – and the race has already gathered incredible data!