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.