The rate at which the ocean sustainability movement has accelerated within the superyacht industry is profound. I often find myself revisiting an old anecdote (so often in fact, it underlines how rapid the growth of the green agenda has been) that reflects the shift in sentiment among the industry elite. When I first attended The Superyacht Forum a decade ago, those on the fringes pushing the sustainability topic largely fell on deaf ears, whereas in recent times, sustainability has established itself as a key discussion point at conferences, shows and seminars alike.

While the industry was slow to accept the reality of the situation, the response of the current cop has ben admirable. And in many ways, considering the minuscule carbon footprint our industry creates compared to others, we are collectively going above and beyond the call of duty.

I don’t want to temper anyone’s enthusiasm; quite the opposite. If superyachting exceeds expectations, and implements sustainable processes that stretch far beyond its relatively modest reach it can only make the vessels and the lifestyle eminently more sellable.

And the need is real. As the enclosed graphic highlights, the rise in the temperature of our oceans has reached a critical level. The last time the annual average temperature dropped below the 20th century average was 1976 and the average annual divergence between 1976 and 1999 was an alarming 0.274 degrees centigrade. The average ocean temperature in the 20th century was 16.1 degrees centigrade; by 2016, this had increased by 4.91%.

Clearly the urgency with which the industry is taking up its sword and tackling this potential catastrophe head-on, is welcomed by all. At The Superyacht Forum, in association with METSTRADE the conversation will focus on two distinct strands of this debate. On day one we will explore the paradigm the industry and its client pool exist in, and the impact the aforementioned initiatives are having on our own processes, and in turn, how they are shaping the opinions of our client base. Clearly, such a conversation will also identify market opportunities for the next generation of stakeholders.

Day three will tackle a conundrum that has, until now, stumped a generation. How do we bring the life of these vessels to a dénouement, which then allows their constituent materials to be fed back into the supply chain. Currently, the lack of tangible solutions is one of the industry’s biggest handicaps. Not only does the inability to recycle vessels that have reached the end of their usage represent a PR headache, in very real terms, it creates a glut of inventory at the bottom of the market that stifles demand. In 2019, the industry is fully alive to the fact that corporate social responsibility not only benefits us on a human level but has the potential to be a powerful market force.

Data sourced from NOAA National Centers For Environmental Information, and analysed by The Superyacht Agency.

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