Through a combination of society, regulation and global initiatives, the maritime industry is being forced to work towards a series of sustainable objectives mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations (UN). As a high-profile sector of the maritime industry, at least in terms of mainstream ire and publicity, the business of superyachts is one that faces increasing pressure to realign the fact that the entire industry is based on a love for the ocean and adhere to the regulatory requirements that would see the ocean protected.

Environmental concern is dictating not just how superyachts will operate in the near future, but everything from the process of design, construction, performance and of course control the residual materials which they emit. For some perspective, in April 2018, the IMO stated that by 2050 the global fleet must cut its annual carbon emissions by half that of 2008, calling for significantly enhanced energy efficiency and gross reduction in harmful emissions.

While this may apply to the entire maritime industry, of which the superyacht fleet attributes only a small percentage, this still calls for an industry masterplan and a pre-emptive approach that will obey to the imminent series of ambitious sustainability targets. Indeed, one may even argue that the superyacht market should be aiming to achieve this target, and even go beyond it, far before 2050.

“As an industry, we must work proactively on solutions, staying ahead of regulations rather than trying to delay – or even worse escape them,” highlighted Lorenzo Pollicardo, technical and environmental director of SYBAss in the Water Revolution Foundation column in issue 196 of The Superyacht Report. “Make no mistake, Tier III is just around the corner and Tier IV and Tier V are on the horizon and this puts the superyacht industry at a crossroads: we can choose to either innovate or delay the inevitable. Given the global shift towards environmentalism, the choice is clear.”

Unquestionably, the pressure that has been placed on the superyacht industry to achieve sustainable goals is profound and there is now no other option than to meet the challenge of change.

Unquestionably, the pressure that has been placed on the superyacht industry to achieve sustainable goals is profound and there is now no other option than to meet the challenge of change. But the question remains, what needs to happen to materialise the shift towards a sustainable future and who’s responsibility is it to drive this change?

There is no question that the sustainable agenda can be costly, which calls for investment from those who wish to implement new processes and technologies and adhere to the change. Fortunately, however, regulation necessitates no other option but to proceed in a direction which obeys sustainable targets laid out by the UN and IMO.

Many shipyards have said something to the effect of, “if the owner wants it, we will build it.” That sort of attitude, of course, has its place. We are all at the mercy of an incredibly small group of ultra-wealthy individuals that keep this industry moving. However, perhaps the time is soon approaching when the options that are provided to owners and potential owners no longer include so much of the technologies and systems that we know be some of the more ecologically damaging. Invariably the cost of this shift will be borne by the owners themselves and, for some, this may be off-putting. Yet, and I believe that many will agree with me, if we do not adopt this attitude, the cost to the environment and the industry at large will be far greater. Without pristine oceans, there is no superyacht industry.

The subject of sustainability will play a major role at The Superyacht Forum 2019, where we will follow the theme, Building For The Next Generation. The subject matter aims to provide an understanding of young owners, to build an industry for the next generation and introduce next-generation technology, energy efficiency and innovations from future thinkers. To register for the 2019 edition of The Superyacht Forum, please click here.


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'.