GT-based reinvestment programme for ocean conversation
16 shipyards have committed to contributing €1 per gross ton that they deliver in 2021, others are due to follow…
A number of the industry’s most renowned shipyards have committed to a structural approach for reinvestment into the protection and regeneration of the oceans. The 16 shipyards have committed to contributing €1 per gross ton that they deliver in 2021.
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 key message from Water Revolution Foundation, which was instrumental in the creation of this agreement, is that this act is not simply a matter of reactive philanthropy. In order for the superyacht industry to prosper, real investment in the environment is required. The commitment represents a first step in the market’s evolution from PR-based sustainability to tangible change.
“We need to stop speaking about philanthropy or compensation because it is reductive. This commitment is designed to protect our reason why. The superyacht industry’s future is reliant on a healthy ocean,” explains Dr Vienna Eleuteri, Water Revolution Foundation’s initiator and sustainability scientist. “If we don’t protect our most important resource, the natural capital, businesses will fail.”
All too often, sustainable initiatives are equated with moral imperatives and philanthropy. Obviously, acting sustainably is the right thing to do, however, this has not always been the most provocative of arguments when it comes to broad adoption of a particular initiative. Money, by contrast, talks, and increasingly the industry needs to look at sustainable initiatives with business-tinted glasses.
“When money is invested through charity or philanthropy it is often lost. How has this money been invested? This commitment is not only tangible and sustainable, it is part of a business plan,” continues Eleuteri. “The commitment on the part of the shipyards represents a measurable and tangible investment in natural capital.”
The shipyards are committing to contributing the amount of €1 per gross ton that they have 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 Important Marine Mammal Areas (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.
IMMAs is an existing programme of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Task Force on Marine Mammal Protected Areas. The premise of this programme is simple: when seeking to protect the ocean, we need to know where to start.
“We need to protect the ocean to protect our business. The ‘Water Revolution Model’ is in two parts, limiting our ecological footprint and reinvesting in ocean conservation,” says Eleuteri. “We chose the marine mammal project because if you protect marine mammal environments it has a profound cascading effect on umbrella species and marine life more generally, from the largest mammals to phytoplankton.”
While the contribution of a single euro per gross tonne may seem nominal in the grand scheme of things, there is something more profound to be said for the industry’s commitment. According to Eleuteri, this commitment represents a revolutionary step in the sense that is the first time an entire industry class or business community has committed to the protection of natural capital. Various businesses have, of course, committed to various sustainable projects, but the unity showcased by the superyacht industry is a first.
It is important to note that this project and commitment represents a starting point for the superyacht industry. Is it hoped that the tangible good created by the commitment becomes a springboard for future investment and sustainable projects.
The Water Revolution Foundation will be speaking on Day 2 of The Superyacht Forum Live and providing a strategic update on what the foundation has been doing, including the latest on YETI 2.0, the IMMA project, UNESCO updates, and a discussion on the perils of greenwashing, plus a look at how we can do things smarter in regard to sustainable industry and ocean preservation by 2030.
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