Events Go Green

Refilling reusable water bottles is an easy way to help the environment

The Green Blue set to launch new sustainability toolkit for event organisers.

Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue Campaign Manager

The Green Blue, the joint environment initiative created by the RYA and British Marine to encourage a more sustainable recreational boating sector, is encouraging anyone organising a boating event to think about how it can be made as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Sailing is dependent on the environment and there has undoubtedly been an increased interest among the UK boating community in the best practice we can follow to ensure we are doing all we can to minimise any impact on the habitats, wildlife and waters we share our boating activities with.

BIG EVENT, BIG CHANGES

We have seen Lendy Cowes Week and the Volvo Ocean Race stopover events both focusing on minimising the use of single-use plastics, as well as providing facilities for participants and spectators to recycle waste and refill their reusable water bottles.

Being environmentally sustainable does not just include waste management though, although this is a good starting point. It can also include water and energy use, the types of products being sold at an event, how a race course is designed to avoid areas with more sensitive wildlife and habitats and ensuring eco-friendly cleaning products are used on and off the water.

Kate Fortnam, Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, explains: “From recycling at sea to the use of bikes and electric vehicles, there are many steps that event organisers can take to help protect the environment. Performing an environmental audit of their sailing venue to identify and improve areas that can be made more sustainable is a good first step.

“Clubs should be seeking to ensure all their members use reusable water bottles as opposed to single-use plastic bottles. Installing an oil/fuel spill kit at their sailing venue to clean up accidental spills when refueling and implementing ‘check, clean and dry’ measures to minimise the spread of alien species around UK waters are also examples of best practice.

“Boating events can vary in size from a small club regatta with less than 20 boats to a larger boating event such as Lendy Cowes Week with up to 1,000 boats and 8,000 competitors involved in racing each day. Sustainability matters irrespective of event size and where it is taking place.

“It is also a key factor in ensuring that sailing is relevant to younger generations, as they take it for granted that event organisers – and participants for that matter – will take care of the environment.

“That is why The Green Blue team is working closely with a number of RYA departments to develop a Sustainable Boating Event Toolkit to support sailing clubs and training centres and help them make their boating events more environmentally sustainable.”

EVENT TOOLKIT

When it is launched, the new toolkit will provide an introduction to environmental sustainability, the first steps to making an event more sustainable, as well as an award system to credit events for their achievements in making them more sustainable.

Event organisers can gain further recognition through working towards and gaining the ISO20121 sustainable event accreditation. ISO 20121 is a comprehensive framework that not all clubs or training centres are able to implement, but many of its principles can still be adopted on a smaller scale.

The Green Blue offers a wide range of guides, posters and activity sheets, including an Environmental Self-Assessment for Clubs, and all resources are available free of charge at www.thegreenblue.org.uk.

To find out more follow @thegreenblue on Twitter.

To find out more about the work of The Green Blue visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk