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The future of sails

We speak to the industry's leading sail cloth manufacturer about the future of the supply chain  …

Dimension-Polyant, the world's leading sail cloth manufacturer, has recently become the first company to introduce the first 100 per cent climate neutral sail cloth to the market. The CEO of Dimension-Polyant, Uwe Stein, spoke to SuperyachtNews about how this was achieved, and how he plans to instil the same drive for sustainability across the entire supply chain and wider industry.

Dimension-Polyant's best selling product, the Hydra Net radial, is now manufactured with bio-based Dyneema. The new bio-based Dyneema fibre contains HMPE (High Modulus Polyethylene) from renewable raw materials and thus has a significantly lower carbon footprint than the conventional Dyneema fibre with the same technical properties. The quality, durability and performance of the new sailcloth remains unchanged. The Hydra Net radial will now be produced exclusively in this more environmentally friendly version in Germany and will replace the previous product.

“Making a product more sustainable is the easy part, anyone can do that.”

Stein explained that, “It would be completely pointless if we made a new sustainable product and it had half the lifespan of the old one. Because then that’s not at all sustainable. The challenge comes from trying to maintain the exact same performance and durability, which is what we have managed to achieve.”

Dimension-Polyant has already been producing in a climate-neutral manner in Kempen, Germany and Putnam, USA since the start of 2021. The carbon emissions at the two company locations were recorded within the framework of DIN ISO 50001 and has been significantly reduced through the use of green electricity, green gas and other measures. All remaining emissions are offset through cooperation with ClimatePartner and its Plastic Free Oceans climate protection project.

The company has a thoughtful strategy which will allow them to infect the rest of the market with sustainable products, “If you begin at the upper end of the market, then you know that they can afford the surplus that comes with owning something completely sustainable, they can almost be like the forerunner for those products. And then hopefully that leads to us creating more of these kinds of products. And then, of course, as an effect, you're getting a lower cost price and then that will allow us to enter into the mid-segment of the market.”

The use of bio-based Dyneema considerably reduces the proportion of fossil raw materials, the remaining emissions are also offset with the company ClimatePartner. The product will also carry the in-house cleenTEC seal. This seal identifies products that are 100 per cent climate neutral and contain recycled or bio-based raw materials, intended to serve as a guide for customers and end consumers. The plan for the near future is to allow for more of the products such as DYS, Hydra Net and FLEX-Ultra, to be offered with biobased Dyneema and thus also receive the cleenTEC seal. 

In the yachting world, Dimension-Polyant have established themselves as trailblazers, although the new initiative is only recently coming into force, Stein has already started to reap the rewards, “We're already seeing the benefits because it's highly appreciated in the market and people are unbelievably interested in getting details regarding what's going to be next. People are all looking very curiously at us, which is a great thing. I’'m not talking financially, the financial aspect is that we are being recognised as somebody who is taking their responsibility as a leader. If we don't take that leadership, I can't expect that from smaller competitors. This would be unfair. We have to invest in technology. We have to do R&D projects, and that costs money, but I think it's well spent...

"It will be a financial success as well because I'm convinced that the upcoming generation is prepared to pay a little surplus in order to help save the planet.”

The conservative nature of the industry is something which Stein is completely aware of, and resents slightly due to his ambition to bring forward-thinking ideas to the market. Speaking of his gripes with the industry, Stein rounded off by stating, “I think I would wish that even the conservative stakeholders in the industry would be more open to those ideas that require more responsibility. A little more effort goes a long way and taking on responsibility to come up with more sustainable materials and offer something that has been thought through from the cradle to the grave. So everybody in the chain needs to take on their individual responsibility. Nobody else will do it for us. They have to do it. And I wished there was a bit more proactiveness in that area.

 

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