Sustainability communication guidelines for the yachting sector

Sustainability communication guidelines for the yachting sector

Water Revolution Foundation, has teamed up with the renowned Goodvertising Agency and its sustainability communication guru, Thomas Kolster, to create sustainability communications guidelines. The guidelines aim to help the yachting sector communicate more effectively about their sustainability effort.

The marketing directors of the Foundation’s three anchor partners, Benetti, MB92 and Oceanco, were involved in the development to ensure the guidelines are aligned with the specifics of the yachting industry.

“Businesses are pressured to act more sustainably across the board. It’s great to see the yachting industry rise to the challenge,” said Thomas Kolster about this joint project with the yachting companies and Water Revolution Foundation as the collaborative platform.

The sustainability communication guidelines, which are digital and publicly available, take the user through a chronological path of ten steps for shaping effective messages regarding their sustainability efforts. When all ten boxes are ticked, you can be assured of a constructive message.  These steps include some key points such as putting sustainability efforts in perspective, distilling complex environmental issues into simple stories and last but not least making your colleagues and stakeholders part of the sustainability journey. Each step comes with do’s, don’ts, and great examples. While external examples can broaden the sector’s horizon with the cases from the non-yachting industry, internal examples share the applicable yachting-related practices.

“In an industry that is rapidly embarking on its path towards sustainability, the marketing & communication can somewhat outpace the actual progress that’s being made. The majority of yachting companies are currently still in the phase of developing sustainability strategies and setting their short and long term goals. In that way, current communication is mostly about intentions, not yet about real milestones accomplished. That is logical as long as these intentions are communicated realistically and constructively.” said Robert van Tol, executive director of Water Revolution Foundation. “The guidelines will help to avoid negative effects, as these can be far greater than the positive ones, especially outside our yachting bubble. So called ‘greenwashing’ has direct and indirect boomerang effects, which we can avoid by effective communication.”

These guidelines are also meant to help yachting media assess the messages and claims regarding sustainability that come their way through press releases, new concepts and advertising. Follow-up questions supported by these 10 points should be asked to communicate more effectively and beneficially about the sector’s sustainability efforts. After all, every public statement affects the image of yachting, especially when they’re about sustainability.

“A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s promising to see the yachting industry stand together to tackle the greatest challenge of our time,” said Kolster.

You can download the sustainability communication guidelines here. 

Water Revolution welcomes first anchor partners

Water Revolution welcomes first anchor partners

Superyacht industry business leaders become Water Revolution Foundation’s first anchor partners – all joining the mission of “driving sustainability in superyachting”.

Water Revolution Foundation, the non-profit on a mission to drive and accelerate sustainability in the superyacht industry, has announced the support of nine anchor partners: Abeking&Rasmussen, Alexseal, Amels | Damen, Benetti, Feadship, Heesen, Lürssen, MB92 and Rybovich. These forward-thinking companies have not only recognised the urgency to reduce the industry’s ecological footprint, but have pledged substantial multi-year commitment and financial contributions. Together, these nine leading companies have made a bold statement on what the future of superyachting will look like.

“This leadership is exactly what the superyacht industry urgently needs to accelerate sustainability efforts”, said Robert van Tol, executive director of Water Revolution Foundation. “Reducing our footprint is a collective challenge and requires real cooperation. I’d like to thank our first anchor partners for sharing this vision, making it possible to start this ambitious programme and call on other companies to join this revolution too”.

With the International Maritime Organization directing the maritime industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 from 2008’s levels, as well as the continued increase in marine protected areas, the time for the superyacht industry to act is now. “Sustainability is something we can no longer view as optional. But, more importantly, our industry is well positioned to take the lead with a smart and affluent clientele and our unique connection with the ocean”, said van Tol. “Our foundation is open to all industry companies. Sustainability is not a competitive advantage; it is a responsibility, a minimum standard that we need to continuously improve upon collectively.”

Water Revolution Foundation’s activities will revolve around three areas of focus: promoting new technology and empowering innovation; pro-actively creating the industry’s own sustainability agenda, going beyond legislative requirements; and reinvesting in ocean conservation.

The inaugural year will see the foundation develop an assessment tool that can measure the impact of design and build choices along with the footprint of existing yachts and effectiveness of technical solutions. The first industry-tailored sustainability management course, part of an industry educational programme, will also be launched. Water Revolution’s first joint industry project will be to determine a yacht’s operational profile and how to compare yachts with one another. A database for verified sustainable solutions will also be developed, facilitating designers, builders and refitters with the knowledge needed to accelerate the shift towards sustainability.

Water Revolution Foundation started from within the superyacht industry and is led by a board of directors comprised of key industry figures, including Henk de Vries (Feadship), Philippe Briand (Philippe Briand Design), Vienna Eleuteri (sustainability scientist), Martin Redmayne (The Superyacht Group). At the latest board meeting, two new board members were appointed: Peter Lürssen (Lürssen Yachts) and Wayne Huizenga III (Rybovich).

A scientific board will provide Water Revolution Foundation with insights and guidance, along with assessing which ocean conservation and research projects are worthy of the industry’s investment.

Companies who operate in the superyacht industry are invited to become partners to support this much-needed revolution. Individuals can sign up for the Water Revolution Foundation newsletter to stay updated on future developments.