World Sailing appoints Paralympian as Head of Sustainability

World Sailing has appointed sustainability expert and Paralympic medallist Alexandra Rickham as Head of Sustainability.

Rickham brings a wealth of expertise across sustainability, diversity and inclusion as a sports executive and professional athlete.

Since transitioning from her 10 year sailing career, during which she won two Paralympic Bronze medals (2012 and 2016), five World Championships and three World Cups, Rickham has focused on her passion for environmental and social change.

She joins World Sailing directly from specialist sports sustainability consultancy Earth to Ocean, where she set up SailGP’s sustainability programme and later transitioned into being their Diversity & Impact Manager, helping the global sailing league to achieve its ambition of becoming the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports and entertainment platform.

Rickham has also advised a host of other sporting property clients over the course of her time at Earth to Ocean.

She is well known in the global sustainability community as a public speaker, appearing regularly on The Sport Ecology Group’s Climate Champions and GreenSports podcasts, as panelist for COPtimism and Sport Positive Summit, working with global sports stakeholders to accelerate climate action.

Rickham also serves as Advisory Board Member and Ambassador for EcoAthletes, which brings together athletes, academics, climate scientists, ecopreneurs, green business leaders and journalists.

“World Sailing has made excellent progress in sustainability and diversity since launching the Sustainability Agenda 2030,” said Rickham, who takes up her role in March.

“With targets across participation, gender equality, water quality, navigating wildlife and biodiversity, and taking action against climate change, World Sailing as the world governing body for the sport is taking direct responsibility while working with wide-ranging sailing organisations as a global force for change – these are exciting times!”

“We are all extremely excited to have Alexandra on board to spearhead our Sustainability Agenda 2030,” said David Graham, CEO of World Sailing.

“As a founder of the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Framework, World Sailing recently joined the International Olympic Committee and over 280 sports federations at Cop26 to commit to the UN’s ‘Race to Zero‘ campaign.

“With Alexandra on board, we will be deepening our work with our global partners to create a sustainable future for our sport and protect our environment for future generations.”

About World Sailing and sustainability

In 2017, World Sailing launched its Sustainability Agenda 2030 and works with partners across global sailing and sport.

In 2018, World Sailing began its partnership with 11th Hour Racing, which works with the sailing community and maritime industries to advance solutions and practices that protect and restore ocean health, recognising success in maritime sustainability with the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.

11th Hour Racing is also working with the World Sailing Trust – a global charity supporting sailing and young sailing athletes, promoting participation and access, and safeguarding waters for future generations. Two key projects are focused on environmental sustainability training for younger sailors and helping sailing clubs to reduce environmental impact by creating targeted resources.

In addition, World Sailing and 11th Hour Racing share a collaboration with The Ocean Race, with the world governing body awarding this pinnacle of sailing Special Event Status and 11th Hour Racing as Premier and Founding Partner of the Sustainability Programme.

World Sailing also works closely with Hempel – official coatings partner and sponsor of Hempel Sailing World Championships – joining over 1,000 international companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

SAP, World Sailing’s long-time analytics partner, assists businesses in minimising greenhouse gas footprints with embedded analytics with the Chasing Zero Emissions programme.

World Sailing is also helping to raise awareness of SailGP’s ‘Race for the Future’, campaign, launched in 2020, and the first climate-positive sports and entertainment property, aiming to reduce the league’s carbon footprint, champion inclusivity and advocate for clean energy.

SailGP tracks and verifies carbon emissions in partnership with One Carbon World and offsets emissions by contributing to pioneering Blue Carbon Projects such as the goal to plant a billion trees and mitigating 500 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, delivered in partnership with the Worldview International Foundation.

By World Sailing

JPK August 2023
Cyclops Marine
JPK August 2023
Cyclops Marine