To mark World Environment Day and the Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff Ocean Summit today, Dongfeng Race Team is publicising its own efforts to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Chinese-flagged team is currently leading the overall rankings with two legs to go – and now the campaign, led by Charles Caudrelier, is sharing how they're making winning changes on shore, too, by minimising impact on the natural environment and demonstrating its commitment to clean oceans through responsible resource use, avoiding single-use plastics and limiting the team’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“We at Dongfeng Race Team fully support the Volvo Ocean Race’s commitment to clean seas and have worked hard to embed principles of sustainability in all that we do,” said Team Director Bruno Dubois. “We proudly carry the Turn the Tide on Plastic slogan on our race boat and we hope to continue our work in this area in the future.
“We have always seen our entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 as a great opportunity to put new ideas into practice in all the areas that we operate – whether it be on sea or on land,” added Dubois.
“There is no magic wand to wave here,” he continued. “This is about lots of small decisions that come together to create a concentrated area of human activity that operates around the world in a more resource-efficient, less polluting and less wasteful manner than it might have been.”
Tiphaine Turluche, the Dongfeng Race Team logistics manager, explained the details of the various initiatives the team has taken to improve the way it operates during the last 18 months of training and racing.
Just as on the water, small tweaks can make a huge difference – and these include banning plastic water bottles with the purchase of Dopper steel reusable bottles and ending single-use plastic items for team meals through the purchase of Monbento lunchboxes, cutlery and plates.
In September last year the team bought a traditional expresso coffee machine that utilises loose coffee beans instead of coffee contained in metal capsules. All coffee leftovers are now biodegradable and compostable.
When the team and associated families are travelling Turluche and her staff make every effort to block-book flights so that groups can share transfers to and from airports and minimise total journeys. A similar philosophy governs car use where the team tries to avoid single-usage of cars and taxis.
Even the team’s old racing sails are being re-used, either as banner decorations in the team base or helping to create equipment or in the manufacture of gifts.
Among new proposals to improve the way the team works are plans to use furniture that is eco-friendly and for the pens handed out to visitors to be made of bamboo, not plastic. That theme continues onboard Dongfeng where there are proposals for the sailors to use bamboo toothbrushes which are harmless if lost at sea and bio toothpaste and shower gel.
Jack Bouttell, the British/Australian bowman on Dongfeng who is moving on after the Volvo Ocean Race to his own Vendee Globe campaign, says the experience of working in a “sustainable-aware” organisation for nearly two years has made a big impression on him.
“I think we all have a lot to learn about living in a more resource-responsible way and what we have been doing at Dongfeng Race Team has certainly changed the way I think about my own footprint, if you like,” he said. “I know that in my future sailing campaigns I will be looking to work under the same principles as we have established here and will be keeping them under constant review.”