52 Super Series makes great strides towards sustainability

The 52 SUPER SERIES is globally recognised as the world’s leading grand prix monohull racing circuit. As the competition has steadily grown in recent years, so too has its approach and commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the event. The 2016 season represents the second complete year in partnership with sustainability sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and in 2017, green-minded circuit organisers will further build upon the great strides and notable achievements made over the past two years.

In 2015, the 52 SUPER SERIES made a commitment to introduce new initiatives that would start to change the way that staff, sailors, marinas and yacht clubs would interact with the environment whilst on-site. This conscious shift in thinking was further refined for the 2016 season, when key team members of the 52 SUPER SERIES operation aggressively targeted the core elements of their event property: the water supply, waste policies, food provision, fuel usage, materials and transport.

Specifically, for 2016:

  • The 52 SUPER SERIES water filtration system and provision of aluminium water bottles for staff has, in one move, removed a total of 29,000 single-use water bottles from circulation.
  • Five teams are using the 52 SUPER SERIES water filtration plant for their daily drinking water requirements.
  • Over 200 young people learned about marine debris and participated in beach clean-ups at the five regattas this season, collecting well over 100kg of discarded waste.
  • Each of the 12 teams have appointed a Sustainability Ambassador – an engaged representative from each team – who meets regularly to discuss, and subsequently deliver initiatives on behalf of the fleet.
  • Meals for staff are free of plastic packaging and utensils, eliminating single-use plastic from over 1000 lunches in a season.
  • Sustainability-related content (articles, posts, images and videos) has been displayed and viewed over 1.6 million times through the 52 SUPER SERIES social media channels and website.
  • The sustainability team have catalysed a complete transformation of the Puerto Portals recycling policy, along with legislative support from the local council.
  • Independent assessor, ClimateCare, has calculated that the total carbon footprint of all event operations (flights, electricity, water and fuel) is 55.72 tons. This will be offset by a donation to a renewable water charity.
  • Going digital, a maximum of 100 sheets of paper were used at each regatta, a 50% reduction from last year.
  • A team charter about sustainability has been drafted, and is ready for team owner signoff. This will immediately assure the fullest team buy-in and cooperation for the future.

52 Super Series

Reflecting on the 2016 campaign, Lars Böcking, Sustainability Director for the 52 SUPER SERIES explains:

“It has been a very special year for us, both on and off the water. We’re very proud of what we have achieved in 2016, and feel that it’s incredibly important to be taking action on these issues now, whilst there is still time to do something about them. Every day at every regatta represents another opportunity to make a difference. You only need to think about your children and your children’s children to stay motivated.

On the face of it, we are doing lots of small things very well, but together they represent something bigger, and we hope that other events and other marinas are starting to listen as the message builds momentum. Because it’s only together that we can really make a difference to our sport, and ultimately – our environment.”

The list of policies and initiatives employed by the sustainability team is a long one, and one that penetrates every level of the organisation. In addition to those already outlined, the team has also: placed a high maxim on media exposure; promoted the use of eco-friendly boat cleaning products; operated shuttle bus services to reduce the amount of wasted fuel; provided oil spill kits for teams; organised cycling events to promote sustainable transport; and integrated sustainable practices into everything they do and buy, from only printing on 100%-recyclable paper to reusing event signage and cable ties.

Rob MacMillan, Co-founder and Advisor of 11th Hour Racing, adds:

“Since our partnership began in 2015, sustainability has become a core operational standard of the 52 SUPER SERIES across all key areas of impact. New for 2017, the 52 SUPER SERIES will include sustainability requirements in venue contracts, an important progression that will influence lasting change in the communities that host the events. 11th Hour Racing is building strong partnerships around sustainability, and innovating new models of sponsorship where the power of sport engages wide audiences in protecting and enjoying our oceans.”

The 2016 52 SUPER SERIES season will be remembered for many reasons, not least of which for the great strides made in terms of sustainability. The 2017 season will mark the third year in collaboration with sustainability sponsors, 11th Hour Racing, and with a successful season behind them, the 52 SUPER SERIES will once again be committed to pushing forward the boundaries of sustainable action within the sport of sailing, and beyond.

– 52 Media



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