Speaking as part of the “50 Sustainability Climate Leaders” project, Peter Lürssen provides an impassioned look into the direct action that Lürssen is taking to help tackle the climate crisis and care for the oceans. Lürssen is featured in a global documentary series in cooperation with Bloomberg about 50 climate leaders, based on the climate goals laid out in the United Nations 17 SDGs. Lürssen discusses the development of technologies, both on board superyachts and at Lürssen’s facilities, as well as looking at a number of other projects that Lürssen has engaged with.
“When I was a young father I would tell my children that they should be happy, that they will have a fantastic life,” starts Peter Lürssen, CEO of Lürssen. “But they told me that I was wrong. When I asked them why, they asked me to look around, to look at the environment, to look at the state the ocean is in, to look at all the animals on the planet that were going extinct. They told me that they would have to clean up what we left behind. At that moment, I started to actively look around to find partners to help in the quest to care more for the ocean.”
The overall message from Lürssen’s interview is clear, there is both an ethical and a business case for the protection of the world’s oceans. Becoming more sustainable is one of the greatest challenges of this age and everyone has an ethical responsibility to engage with the issues surrounding it. On the other hand, without clean oceans for the world’s UHNW population to enjoy, the superyacht industry will simply cease to exist and, as a result, many businesses will collapse and a number of jobs will be lost.
“It is quite a complex task to have such a difficult project as a yard to be sustainably produced,” comments Lennart Pundt, head of project development at Lürssen. “Lürssen has kept an eye on environmentally friendly production, so we have clear production facilities, waste is collected and recycled, even rainwater is collected and treated before being released into the environment. Energy efficiency today is being increased in our production site by using energy management technologies, LED lighting or even the installation of windows for more natural lighting.”
Pundt further explains that Lürssen is implementing lean production in its facilities. Indeed, the pipe workshop is the first workshop that is fully digital and paperless. This new philosophy is now being rolled across the shipbuilding facilities, the outfitting department and also the electrical workshop. Lürssen’s interests in sustainability, however, have pushed beyond merely controlling their products and working environment.
“Ascension Island is the most incredible place I have ever visited. It is a little island that is 10km across with and its waters have some of the most exceptional biodiversity in the world,” explains Clare Brook, CEO of Blue Marine Foundation. “Her waters, however, were being very heavily fished by a long-line fleet. They were paying license fees to the island, but what Lürssen has enabled us to do was establish an endowment fund, which meant that we could actually replace the license income with an income in perpetuity from this fund. The best way to visualise what Lürssen has done is to looking at real-time global fishing maps where you can see the incredible amount of fishing in the Atlantic. However, in the middle of that, there is a huge oasis surrounding Ascension Island where there is no fishing and the wildlife can thrive.”
Many in the superyacht industry will be aware of the excellent work that is being done by Water Revolution Foundation. As one of the early partners of the project, Lürssen shares in the success that the foundation is having. However, perhaps more importantly, it was pressure from Lürrsen that vastly increased the cost of membership.
“Many great ideas are unable to have an impact because of a lack of funds. We pushed hard for a very substantial membership fee that allows the WRF to hire scientists and actually make a programme and do research,” continues Lürssen. “We are looking into the possibility of having an assessment of each of the yachts where an objective tool can assess whether or not a yacht has done everything that could sensibly be done to improve its impact.”
“We continuously educate and strive to be in the forefront of technologies and we spend a substantial amount of money on research and we cooperate with research institutes, support universities and now we are looking at new ways to make better the efficient use of the powerplant installed on the ships. I am convinced that by the end of the decade we should be able to have an emissions-free yacht sailing on the oceans.”
When individuals and businesses discuss sustainability it can often be argued that their bark is much greater than their bite. Indeed, I think we can all agree that becoming more sustainable is a positive thing to do. However, Lürssen’s significant investment in projects beyond the confines of their own business, shows that the company is as much driven by ethics as it is by business savvy.
If you like reading our Editors' premium quality journalism on SuperyachtNews.com, you'll love their amazing and insightful opinions and comments in The Superyacht Report. If you’ve never read it, click here to request a sample copy - it's 'A Report Worth Reading'. If you know how good it is, click here to subscribe - it's 'A Report Worth Paying For'.