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A sign of the times

How the UN's Sustainable Development Goals will shape the next decade…

As we edge towards the end of the current decade and consider what the next has in store, one thing the next 10 years will hopefully bring is the realisation of the UN’s planned sustainability goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for all countries to take action - irrelevant of their income status – to promote the future prosperity of the planet.

The word ‘sustainable’ is one that appears regularly on SuperyachtNews and the wider media as a whole – be it horror stories of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans or the impact of the ever-changing weather patterns that have sprung out of a change in global temperature – but the word means so much more than simply reducing our consumption of plastic products and greenhouse gases.

These initiatives also encompass a wide variety of social and economic needs including education, healthcare, social protection and job opportunities.

While not all of these goals may not be directly relevant to the superyacht industry there are several that the industry has already taken notice of. The MARPOL convention enforced by the IMO, for example, which aims to minimise pollution of the world’s oceans through a series of targeted and specific annexes, has in many ways, served as the industry’s own set of checks and balances. In April 2018, the IMO stated that, by 2025, the global maritime fleet must cut its annual carbon emissions by half that of 2008. This represents the maritime application of the seventh and twelfth sustainability goals by reducing the impact of NOx emissions.

And further regulations have been introduced this year to enforce this. After 2021, if operating in Emission Control Areas, sub-500GT yachts must be built to comply with an emission limit that can currently only be met by the use of exhaust gas after-treatment systems.

Another trend this year is the a growing number of projects that have been built with philanthropic and scientific endeavours in mind. Projects such as Alucia and REV Ocean have become synonymous with a new direction that some owners are taking. The latter of the two, although still undergoing its final outfitting stages, will on completion represent a state-of-the-art research platform used to analyse the state of the world’s oceans. Yachts like REV Ocean represent an industry change in mentality towards the environment.

Another sign of the changing times was in evidence in the aftermath of the Monaco Yacht Show. One of the main reflections among The Superyacht Group’s editors was how the attitude of the industry has changed, not only towards the future of our environment but the operation of superyachts in general. In an article on SuperyachtNews, Will Mathieson commented on the increased diversity evident at this year’s show and the rebalancing of the historical gender inequality of the event.(link to article) This is yet another example of the industry’s shift towards achieving this fifth goal set out by the UN for the end of the next decade.

As we look towards the next decade, it is essential for our collective longevity that the superyacht industry continues to keep pace with the zeitgeist, and it is hard to find something that represents the mood of the time more than the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals .

For this reason, The Superyacht Group has chosen to focus on ‘The Next Generation’ at The Superyacht Forum 2019. The event, which will be held in Amsterdam this month will see key stakeholders discuss the UN’s Sustainability Goals as topics in a series of lectures and workshops to ensure the future prosperity of the superyacht industry.

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A sign of the times

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