A group of prominent shipyards has committed to setup a structural approach for reinvestment into the regeneration and conservation of our precious oceans. They now call on fellow yacht builders to join them in this important commitment.
Abeking & Rasmussen, Ameryachts, Baglietto, Feadship, Gulf Craft, Heesen Yachts, Horizon Yachts, Lürssen Yachts, Oceanco, Royal Huisman, Sanlorenzo, Silveryachts, Southern Wind, Tankoa, Turquoise Yachts, and Vitters are the first builders that have agreed to reinvest based on the Gross Tonnage (GT) of yachts they deliver.
The importance and logic of ocean conservation for the yachting sector From 2021 onwards, the United Nations declared the next 10 years the ‘Ocean Decade’, aiming to catalyse transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the excess heat generated by global warming and are taking in over 25% of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making them the planet’s largest carbon sinks. In short, the oceans’ health determines all life on Earth.
The builders are also well aware that without healthy oceans there is no sustainable future for the yachting sector. It is therefore logical that the entire yachting community would take on the role of ocean stewards – not as philanthropy, but as an investment in our common future.
“Today, an innovative approach towards ecological transition is about acknowledging the ocean-climate nexus and the central role of marine ecosystem conservation for a healthy planet,” says Dr Vienna Eleuteri, Water Revolution Foundation’s initiator and sustainability scientist. “I am very pleased with this group of builders taking the lead in setting up structural reinvestment by the yachting sector to regenerate our oceans.”
Taking real action means simultaneously reducing our environmental impact while regenerating the oceans’ capacity to recover from negative impacts. For the latter, we need to embrace nature’s very own solutions and weapons against climate change. Marine mammals and their marine ecosystems play a crucial role and therefore their natural habitats need to be protected as blue carbon ecosystems.
Import Marine Mammal Areas The entirety of funds collected will go to Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs), endorsed by Water Revolution Foundation and promoted as one of the most effective programmes for ocean conservation among the entire yachting community to support.
Through identifying the areas important for marine mammals, these can be prioritised for protection measures by governments, intergovernmental organisations, conservation groups, and marine stakeholders. This does not automatically mean banning human activities – in fact, it is about aligning human activities with the needs of nature, so-called ‘sustainable ocean use’. By being aware and adapting to nature’s needs, all marine human activity – including yachting – can operate in a much more conscious way at these critical areas. The IMMA programme works very well too for yacht crew to participate through citizen science.
With 159 IMMAs already established across the Southern Hemisphere, the scientists behind the IMMA programme are now looking to the Northern Hemisphere. In total, there are nine regions of the ocean still to be mapped. The North Atlantic is next up, which is the common crossing route for yachts and superyachts between the Mediterranean and Caribbean seasons.
What is the commitment? The shipyards are committing to contributing the amount of €1 per gross ton they delivered in 2021. For each new yacht delivered, the yards will match the gross tonnage in euros and reinvest this via Water Revolution Foundation into IMMA for its North Atlantic project which starts in early 2022.
The amount of €1 per GT is based on the €555,000 target funding needed to start the two-year North Atlantic IMMA project. This target amount was divided by the 455,000 total expected GT to be delivered in 2021 and rounded off to €1. The builders that committed have so far delivered around 60,000 GT in 2021.
Call to action
The first committed yacht builders now call on their colleagues to join in on this commitment and choose the coordinated approach to raise the required funding for this important ocean conservation programme. The yards also encourage other players in the yachting sector to band together and make a similar commitment to protect what is most dear and critical to our common future.
At a time where the focus is on countries and politicians at the COP26 in Glasgow for international action to tackle climate change, industry plays a key role too. Instead of waiting for legislation, taking our own measures to reduce and regenerate will be more constructive, more appreciated and therefore most effective.
Note that this coordinated contribution to ocean conservation is not meant to offset the impact of the yachts delivered nor their production processes, but to structure reinvestment by builders into the most critical natural resource for the yachting sector and to reach the target funding for IMMAs, as the first collectively supported ocean conservation programme.
The Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme 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’re taking on a guiding role, connecting the superyacht industry with the scientific community, and are now calling upon the superyacht community to support the IMMA programme to protect the health of the ocean.
Our united passion for the water is the very reason our industry exists. We are intrinsically connected to the oceans and our future relies on their health.
But the very environment we treasure is in danger. The oceans are ailing. Overfishing, pollution and negligence is putting immense pressure on the marine world. Without urgent help, it will be too late to turn the tide. To continue enjoying the oceans, we need to work together to safeguard them. Our industry, with its innate connection to the water, is in a unique strategic position to take action and help shape a better future.
Alongside our efforts to reduce the footprint of the superyacht industry, we recognise that for a well-rounded approach and a sustainable future, we must also directly invest in conservation efforts. We see a vital role for ourselves as connectors, directing support to the most relevant and effective projects. Our first endorsed project, the Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme, exemplifies this approach.
The IMMA programme 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 precious oceans.
You’ve probably heard about carbon offsetting – a way to compensate for your environmental footprint. But this is an outdated model that facilitates carbon credit trading and, as such, offers no incentive to improve. And if we want to become truly sustainable, we need to make real changes by both reducing our environmental impact and restoring nature’s capacity to cope with negative impacts. This two-direction improvement should be viewed as an investment that delivers a return, rather than simple offsetting.
Online tools can be used to calculate your impact, but rather than offsetting that figure with the equivalent carbon credits, we encourage you to instead contribute to the most effective ocean conservation projects. It’s time we made the ocean a key stakeholder of our industry. After all, a healthy ocean is critical for the sustainability of the yachting sector.
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 precious oceans.
The Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme aims to support the restoration of the balance of life in the ocean by identifying the most important marine habitats for marine mammals which can then be prioritised for conservation actions. It’s widely supported by the scientific community – and for good reason. It’s a transformative programme that ticks all the right boxes:
It is of the highest scientific level.
It meets the most stringent transparency and governance requirements.
It works with the most renowned ocean scientists and marine biologists – both non-political and independent.
It is endorsed by leading scientific and conservation institutions.
It has the highest visibility amongst scientists, governments, NGOs, industries and media.
It includes possibilities for ‘citizen science’, where interested people can participate in research and conservation actions.
It focuses on the recovery of the ocean ecosystem by tackling the problem at its source – with accelerating effects too.
It can feed into superyacht-specific operational programmes.
It is preparation for a future that better protects the ocean’s ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
In short, it’s the role model ocean conservation programme with a multiplier effect to boot.
The IMMA approach is based solely on the best available science, with no influence from politics or other stakeholders. This scientific legitimacy is part of the reason why the programme has such widespread support from both the ocean conservation community and regulatory bodies.
Our crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity for the superyacht community – companies, professionals, owners and charterers alike – to take on a stewardship role of the oceans. Collectively, we can support the important work of the IMMA programme and help protect our oceans.