All-star cast of sustainability experts and sports stars unite to supercharge SailGP’s Impact League

LONDON – June 27, 2023 – An NFL player, National Geographic Young Explorer, the first woman to be appointed as director of The Football Association and a member of the UN secretary-general’s advisory group on climate change headline an all-star cast of judges joining SailGP to supercharge the Impact League for Season 4.

SailGP impact league

As sport’s podium for the planet, the Impact League has attracted experts in sustainability and sport from around the globe. Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle and World Vision partner Kelvin Beachum has signed up to be an Impact League judge, and he is joined by the former Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All, and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Rachel Kyte.

Fellow Impact League judges include National Geographic Young Explorer and Founder of Tuesdays for Trash, Sharona Shnayder, the English Football Association’s first female non-executive director and chair of the FA inclusion advisory board, Dame Heather Rabbatts, Co-Founder of a Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland, and three-time motorsports W Series Champion, Jamie Chadwick.

Rounding out the stellar lineup of Impact League recruits is wildlife scientist and science communicator, Dr Vanessa Pirotta, CEO of Water Bear – the interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet, Sam Sutaria, Head of Sustainability at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, Dr Sheila Nguyen, and Little Sun Founder, Frederik Ottesen. More judges will be announced throughout the season.

The Impact League is a second leaderboard running alongside the Season Championship that tracks the positive actions SailGP Teams make to reduce their carbon footprint and accelerate inclusivity in sailing.

At the end of the season there are two podiums, with the Impact League winner crowned alongside the Season Champion and earning funding for its purpose partner.

The teams have made huge strides in sustainable event operations and innovation and therefore pushed to make a number of the criteria ‘business as usual’ such as keeping their energy usage to a minimum and sorting their waste correctly. The focus for this season is to highlight four key areas for the teams to focus on which will be judged by the all-star, expert panel.

  • The race to zero waste: creating a sustainable future
  • Accelerating inclusion: advancing diversity and equity in sailing
  • Climate action: innovating for a low carbon future
  • Breaking boundaries: driving gender equity through the Women’s Pathway

Scoring will be adjudicated by Joshua Brunert, Global Head of ESG Product at Apex Group, SailGP’s Financial Solutions Partner, to oversee a consistent and fair process.

Through the group’s expertise, SailGP is hoping to learn, collaborate and identify key sustainability solutions with the potential to realize huge societal and environmental benefits that go beyond sport.

Youth climate activist Sharona Shnayder said: “As a passionate climate justice activist and grassroots leader, I am excited to be a part of SailGP’s Impact League. I look forward to judging the innovative solutions in waste reduction proposed by the teams, as they strive to lead by example in the sport. Together, we have the unique opportunity to show that being an athlete and a changemaker are not mutually exclusive, while also steering the course for a better future on our planet and in our communities.”

Having already delivered significant impact in its first two seasons and being recognized with two industry-leading awards – the BBC Green Sport Ambition and Impact Award, and the Sports Industry Environmental Sustainability Award – the latest evolution of the Impact League is a breakthrough moment for the purpose-driven sports league.

SailGP Chief Purpose Officer Fiona Morgan said: “What began as a challenge to embed sustainability into the fabric of sport and ignite the competitive nature of our athletes has grown tremendously over the last two seasons, and for the first time I really feel like we’re going out to the world and showing what influence the Impact League can have to inspire our fans, other sports and communities to act differently.

“People are taking notice of our bravery and approach, we’re winning awards, partners have come onboard to support the cause, we have an incredible lineup of judges who want to be involved and a new digital home of the Impact league to engage and inspire our fans. The momentum is building and the potential is phenomenal so this year you’ll see us making more noise with more innovations to drive more change using our platform. This is still just the start so I can’t wait to see what we can collectively achieve in Season 4.”

To further supercharge the Impact League, SailGP has partnered with its Official Digital Transformation Partner, Cognizant, to develop an interactive Impact League dashboard to more deeply engage and educate its fans. Combining sustainable design, data, content and engineering, the new platform will showcase insights in an interactive and engaging way. It will highlight the stories behind the teams’ purpose-driven initiatives, as well as ideas to inspire SailGP fans to take action in their own lives.

The project was designed with the environment and sustainability in mind. Cognizant used its Carbon Calculator tool to model and quantify impact across a range of factors – from team size and location, to travel and project consumables, to server load and computer power, addressing each and offsetting remaining emissions.

Rob Walker, President, Global Growth Markets, Cognizant said: “Cognizant and SailGP share a commitment to making the planet a better place, through efforts in sustainability and by creating spaces that are more diverse and inclusive. As the official Digital Transformation Partner, Cognizant democratized the Impact League data making it highly accessible, giving fans the ability to dive deep into how teams perform throughout the season in a more visually pleasing and engaging way. It’s our hope that the Impact League updates don’t just engage SailGP fans – but that ultimately other sports leagues and enterprises adopt this approach to quantifying impact so that we can all contribute to creating a better world.”

To find out more visit the Impact League website

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