SuperyachtNews provides a platform to share information and stories that are of interest to and/or regarding the superyacht industry, and having seen the rapidly increasing number of questions, concerns and conversations that are now taking place regarding the following subject, we must play our part.

When it became apparent that the next generation of owners would be more tech-savvy, the industry listened and focused on those elements of its offerings that could be developed to appeal to these wants and needs. When this same generation was also identified as being far more eco-conscious than those before, the industry listened once again and immediately begun working on some fantastic projects to reduce the carbon footprint of a superyacht.

Now, more than ever before, businesses in many different industries are having conversations about diversity in the workplace. However, it appears that when key stakeholders within this industry are asked about what needs to change and what problems are facing us, the majority of answers are ‘sustainability’ and our ‘green agenda’. It could be argued that the superyacht industry is using its fight towards a sustainable future as a distraction from a whole host of additional problems…

Why is it that the industry can now confidently have conversations about the environment, which was previously a taboo topic, but still shows such little confidence in discussions about inequality?

Why is it that the industry can now confidently have conversations about the environment, which was previously a taboo topic, but still shows such little confidence in discussions about inequality?

Many industries, including our own, have taken the past few months as a period of reflection, and have promised to emerge from lockdown as the best versions of themselves. Soon to be published in full on SuperyachtNews.com, and available in the upcoming issue of The Superyacht Report, I interviewed Jenny Matthews, Founder – She of the Sea, who has made it her mission to ensure companies do just that, and has been encouraging this metamorphosis long before any kind of reflective lockdown.

“When you want something to succeed, you naturally start looking at what could be made better, and as women in the industry there were some really obvious things that we could see and problems that we wanted to solve,” commented Matthews. 

Matthews and co-founder, Natasha Ambrose, set about identifying key areas for growth within the industry, initially focusing on gender, and since expanding to the broader topic of diversity. “There are proven economic and cultural benefits of a diverse workplace outperforming those that are not, and these are now so highly recognised and sought after with employees, the superyacht industry needs to realise this too,” Matthews explained.

Matthews and her team are dedicated to bringing about these changes in every segment of superyachting, from crew to CEO, and normalising conversations do not yet have enough noise. Margarita Amam, former chief stew and now CEO and Founder of Interior Management Systems, recently emphasised the point that “elitism and inequality come from all sides: from high and low positions in the industry,” during and ‘uncensored’ interview with Yachting International Radio [link to interview here]

While momentum will no doubt continue to grow surrounding these topics, the superyacht industry needs to encourage these uncomfortable conversations...

The interview revealed many eye-opening and sobering stories, and while momentum will no doubt continue to grow surrounding these topics, the superyacht industry needs to encourage these uncomfortable conversations and one day, hopefully, the word ‘inequality’ will be spoken about as confidently as our carbon footprint. We’re not there yet with either, but change is happening on both sides – and one shouldn’t be louder than the other.

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