This is “a decade of action to repair the Earth,” said HRH Prince William during the unveiling of his new ambitious ecological initiative, the ‘Earthshot Prize’, at the beginning of 2020. Never before have these words been so profound for industry, as sustainability and environmental consideration become ever more fundamental to global business prosperity in the coming decade, and also a major focus of the superyacht industry.

Challenging the world’s thinkers, leaders and dreamers to take a new approach towards solving our environmental challenges, Sir David Attenborough has described the new initiative as “the most prestigious environment prize in history”, and it is hoped it will encourage a new wave of ambition and innovation to save the planet with replenished optimism and action.

In the past decade we have seen the global ecological situation transform from climate change to climate crisis, and this drive for change is one that has now very much manifested itself in the superyacht industry.

In the past decade we have seen the global ecological situation transform from climate change to climate crisis, and this drive for change is one that has now very much manifested itself in the superyacht industry. Many businesses and initiatives have set their sights on making a difference in tandem with the most affluent individuals in the world, who are themselves increasingly determined to act to preserve the health of the environment.

Subsequently, I believe we are about to enter a new epoch that could represent the most dynamic and powerful period of technological advancement to the benefit of our planet, in history, meaning that not only will this be a decade of action, but a decade of change in the way superyachts are built and operated.

Almost the entire superyacht industry comprises small businesses, which collectively hold the power to transform the makeup of a superyacht and in turn, the power to drive substantial environmental change. I believe that initiatives such as the Earthshot Prize help to catalyse the industry’s commitment towards sustainable and environmentally considerate practices in a way which can help to solve the world’s greatest problems by 2030, as laid out by Prince William.

There are already initiatives in place within the superyacht industry highlight that times are changing and companies must now adapt to accommodate ecological practices or risk getting left behind.

Developments of note that showcase the industry’s sustainability drive, include the Water Revolution Foundation’s new environmental tool, which determines the environmental impact of superyachts based on empirical data and a proprietary algorithm. This tool, which has been launched to wide acclaim enables stakeholders to make informed decisions about various materials, products and systems that are being incorporated into yacht builds. While, Feadship revealed that it is aiming to go emissions-free by 2025.

“People can achieve great things. And the next 10 years presents us with one of our greatest tests - a decade of change to repair the Earth.”

-  Prince William

Last year, I travelled to Vard Shipyard in Brattvag, Norway to step on board the bare bones of 182.9m REV Ocean and uncovered the gravitas of this project not just in size, but in its commitment to environmental conservation. Designed to provide a multitude of scientists on board with the facilities to carry out research through the funds generated by charter guests on board, this is just an example of what can be developed by the superyacht industry, and reiterates that while it is a critical point in time, equally, it is exciting too.

The ecological focus has also manifested itself within our portfolio, as issue 200 of The Superyacht Report focuses on the future, and the most laudable initiatives and innovations that will enhance the overall efficiency of superyacht usage and operation. Furthermore, in May 2020, we will examine the Future of Planet Superyacht, at The Superyacht Design Forum, bringing together the leading minds in design to agree a sustainable future roadmap.

“People can achieve great things. And the next 10 years presents us with one of our greatest tests - a decade of change to repair the Earth,” explained Prince William. From the superyacht industry’s perspective I for one am confident that this challenge has been accepted and this decade will be one that will result in a genuine technological revolution.


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