TAKING CENTRE STAGE

The work of The Green Blue extends beyond the UK sharing knowledge and ideas with businesses and organisations internationally.

Dan Reading, Green Blue Sustainability Officer

 

Before Christmas I had the pleasure of attending several conferences both as a delegate and speaker.

There were lots of interesting topics discussed as well as organisations taking steps towards achieving their sustainability targets, and there were even new products that can help reduce boats’ environmental impact.

To kick things off I attended five regional RYA affiliate conferences where we met with sailing clubs and associations across the UK. This was an excellent opportunity for us to advise clubs on topics ranging from building new clubhouses to implementing biosecurity plans.

WORLD SAILING CONFERENCE

Next was a trip to Barcelona for World Sailing’s annual conference and launch of their sustainability strategy. The newly rebranded international governing body of the sport set out their objectives to roll out over the next few years:

  • Protect and enhance sailing’s waters and the wider water environment
  • Promote research into the impact of sailing on the environment
  • Encourage a robust approach to sustainability across the sport and its supporting affiliated industries
  • Minimise World Sailing’s carbon footprint and promote resource efficiency across the sport
  • Create a sound economic base for World Sailing and the sport
  • Provide and promote safe and collaborative working environments
  • Develop diverse and inclusive operations, promoting sailing in an open and accessible way to increase participation
  • Communicate the benefits and importance of sustainability and facilitate stakeholder engagement in the delivery of this strategy

A large room was filled with delegates from all sailing disciplines ranging from Olympic gold medallists to dinghy manufacturers discussing the strategy and The Green Blue is looking forward to helping World Sailing achieve its objectives where we can.

Whilst in Barcelona I was invited to carry out an environmental audit and appraisal of Superyacht Marina Port Vell. Already boasting several environmental awards, the marina management were keen to discuss other ways in which they could become a world leader in environmental mitigation; after all, when you are dealing with perfection, there is no place for pollution.

SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE

After Barcelona was a trip to Amsterdam where there were two conferences and a trade show.

To kick things off the ‘Sustainability in the marine industry’ conference explored the concept of applying circular economy techniques to boatbuilding as well as types of composites materials. Again the subject of GRP recyclability was thoroughly discussed with some speakers showing how an old hull had been shredded then extra resin used to repurpose the material as a canal GRP sheet piling.

Delegates discussed what was happening in other countries and it was interesting to hear that in France an ‘Eco Tax’ is being implemented in 2018 for new boats, but quite how this is going to be spent remains to be seen.

There were some really interesting statistics at this conference, particularly from Boatshed founder Neil Chapman. On average boats are owned for 3.7 years, cost 18 per cent of the value to keep and maintain and on average are used for 11 days of the year.

BRITISH PAVILION AT METS

The next few days were spent at METS, which is the largest marine trade show in the world. It is so big that the show could fit both the London and Southampton Boat Shows in it with space to spare. Whilst you cannot buy a boat you could buy every conceivable part of a boat a hundred times over.

From electric engines to glow in the dark rope, this is the place to come to see new innovation and products from across the world. Of course the British Pavilion, which contains British exhibitors, is one of the biggest with over a hundred British Marine members showing their wares.

Here I managed to catch up with the Seabin project. This is an idea that caught a lot of people’s imagination, going viral online with over 400 million people having watched their video on YouTube.

The idea is a small floating bin to be placed in marinas which, using a solar powered pump, can essentially filter and catch plastic. They are now on version seven and hoping to be installing them around the world from May.

LOOKING AHEAD

Finishing off the trip I spoke at the International Council for Marine Industry Associations) World Marina Conference. This is a biennial gathering of marina designers, managers and developers from across the world.

Here I was presenting on environmental legislation and best practice for reducing the environmental impact of a marina.

Hopefully 2017 will see the launch of the Clean Marina programme in the UK to sit alongside the marina rating Gold Anchor Scheme.

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