Alongside providing the superyacht industry with the tools and knowledge to reduce its footprint, we recognise that, for a sustainable future, the industry must also directly invest in conservation efforts. We need to go beyond only reducing our impact – only then can the superyacht industry succeed in becoming sustainable.
In fact, it’s time we made the oceans a key stakeholder of our industry. We need to shift from viewing ocean conservation as philanthropy to understanding that it is, in fact, an investment.
We are pleased to see an increasing commitment throughout the yachting community to support the protection of the ocean. Yet, this comes with questions, namely, what are the most effective and impactful projects to support? That’s where Water Revolution Foundation comes in.
To systematically address this question, we have embarked on a mission to identify and support truly impactful and innovative marine conservation projects. In the coming year, the foundation will develop a formal ocean conservation programme. “This forthcoming programme will deliver a new path to nurturing both ocean and human vitality through transformative marine ecosystem conservation projects at scale,” said Vienna Eleuteri, initiator and vice-chair of Water Revolution Foundation. “By doing so, we are connecting an entire business sector to the scientific community and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme is our first endorsed project. It aims to support the restoration of the balance of life in the ocean by identifying the most important marine habitats for marine mammals and prioritising them for conservation actions. We view it as an opportunity for the superyacht community to take on a stewardship role of the oceans with companies, professionals, owners and charterers alike coming together to collectively support the programme’s important work and help protect our oceans.
For the path towards increased sustainability, perhaps the most important step for success is to provide awareness and make clear to corporate executives and managers what the business case is. To achieve this, Corporate Responsibility training is strongly advised, through specialised content courses that will clearly clarify the concept, recognise the importance of setting goals and emphasise the importance of corporate sustainability for the future of the yachting industry.
Through training, the appropriate knowledge will be acquired and the necessary skills for the development of a corporate sustainability strategy will be strengthened. This knowledge covers the understanding of Sustainable Development in its entirety, the accurate identification of stakeholders and essential issues, the adoption of the most valid and demanding standards and information on legislation and upcoming sustainability trends. Following a recognised certification programme and joining an international network of sustainability leaders helps organisations to apply the right strategies.
“When it comes to the yachting industry topics such as sustainability reporting, the integration of the circular economy and the restriction of the use of plastics inside materials are among the top essential issues on which the industry will focus in the next coming years,” explains Nikos Avlonas, Centre for Sustainability & Excellence.
In a bid to keep the superyacht industry informed and connected during these unusual circumstances, yachting expert Hein Velema approached SuperYacht Times with the idea of hosting a series of free online seminars. On Thursday 26 March Water Revolution Foundation joined their webinar focused on sustainability in yachting.
During the webinar, the audience posed many interesting questions and suggestions. Due to time constraints, these remained unanswered. Water Revolution Foundation would like to respond to these valuable questions and suggestions from the audience.
Please note that the answers solely come from Water Revolution Foundation, the other panellists have not been consulted.
What better New Year’s resolution than to kick off the decade of sustainability in yachting, aligning with the United Nations’ international 2030 agenda for their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To start this crucial decade, Water Revolution Foundation is proud to launch the very first industry-wide Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct
As part of its mission to drive sustainability in the superyacht industry through collaboration and innovation, Water Revolution Foundation has developed a Code of Conduct, made up of 10 commitments for companies to sign up to. It reinforces the collective approach, but also emphasises the individual responsibility and major influence that each company has.
Signing the Code of Conduct
The first opportunity to physically sign this Code of Conduct will be at the upcoming Boat International Superyacht Design Festival in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy from 2 to 4 February, bringing together the leading designers and builders of the superyacht industry. There will be further opportunities to sign at other upcoming industry events, including the Dubai International Boat Show, Monaco Ocean Week and Superyacht Design Forum.
As a sustainability scientist, I know that any successful business must embrace sustainability as both a guiding principle and strategic goal to innovate and gain a competitive advantage. There’s simply no alternative to sustainable development today. Its importance goes far beyond the environmental perspective as the need to behave responsibly becomes a crucial aspect of strategy and operations. This applies equally to the superyacht industry; sustainability is key to our success.
Water Revolution Foundation has sustainability at its core. Our mission is simple: we’re founded by – and for – the superyacht industry to help accelerate its shift towards a more sustainable future. Yachting relies on the health of oceans, and their conservation is vital for the planet’s well-being.
But let’s start at the beginning. In my previous role as the first sustainability manager at a superyacht builder, I had the opportunity to set up the first integrated sustainability-management system, specifically developed for the sector. This software tool utilises computational sustainability to measure the impact on carbon dioxide, water use and costs of choices made during the design and build process of a yacht, allowing more informed choices to be made. Although I didn‘t know it at the time, this was the first step towards the establishment of Water Revolution Foundation.
The sustainability-management system was built for the greater good. The aim was to develop a tool that could then be shared with the entire superyacht industry, not just kept as a competitive advantage. After sitting alongside designers, engineers and architects, I realised that we needed to close the gap between how much we know about sustainability and what we do in our daily work to shape a sustainable future. Water Revolution Foundation was established to expand upon this effort, working together with all stakeholders to make large-scale change, and will be the home for those who want to act; companies that recognise that delegating their responsibility through weak and inadequate charity projects is not enough.
This foundation is for those who want to make meaningful change – not greenwash the industry. As an industry, we have extraordinary potential to transform into a hub for innovation. We have the talent, technology and resources required; what we’ve been lacking is the hub. That’s where Water Revolution Foundation steps in. With each new project, designers and shipyards push the perimeter of innovation one notch further, creating new solutions and technical advancements. By working together to share these sustainable solutions, we can accelerate their adoption on a large scale. Looking beyond our own industry, there is a wide range of naval solutions available, from increasing the efficiency of on-board systems to renewable fuel sources and entirely ecological composites. Water Revolution Foundation will offer a database of these solutions, allowing the industry to accelerate the shift towards sustainability.
When I started in the superyacht industry, ‘sustainability’ was a strange word to use. Even as other industries worked towards aligning their value chains with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, it remained a foreign concept in the superyacht world. Meanwhile, the concept of responsible entrepreneurship had become a vital business strategy, allowing many other industries to understand the challenges of sustainable development. This led them to increase efficiency and create new, better products by reducing material and energy intensity, decreasing the use of non-renewable resources and toxic substances, and increasing the durability, recyclability and serviceability of their goods.
These industries have successfully influenced their suppliers and customers and spread the concept across the supply chain. They have also developed reporting mechanisms to monitor progress, such as eco-efficiency indicators and benchmarks. Let’s learn from these industries that have found both environmental and economic success. Let’s secure our sustainable future. We have the skills, we have the technology; all we need is the courage to be ahead of the curve. Let’s do it together.
Co-founder Martin Redmayne explains why Water Revolution offers the superyacht industry the opportunity to take control of what we can influence and improve in order to become more sustainable and attract new clientele.