The Volvo Ocean Race has provided a powerful and unique global platform to explore the issues and solutions to this crisis.
In collaboration with Founding Principal Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing, Principal Partner the Mirpuri Foundation, and our other main partners, Volvo, AkzoNobel, Bluewater, Stena Recycling and Ocean Family Foundation, we have implemented a wide-ranging Sustainability Programme.
One element of this has been to maximise the impact at host cities by minimising the footprint of our Race Villages and providing inspiration to others to offer solutions to this ocean crisis.
We’ve not only inspired our Race teams but also the visitors to our Race Villages to make changes in their own lives to reduce their use of plastics. People have also given the opportunity to sign up to the United Nations Environment’s Clean Seas pledge, with which the Sustainability Programme has a partnership to promote healthier Oceans.
Stopover beach cleans give a visible representation of the scale of the problem we face and have driven engagement from the sailors, partners and many others.
By doing something as simple as installing water bottle refill stations, we have dramatically reduce dependency on single-use plastics. Through this initiative, we have avoided the use of hundreds of thousands of single-use plastic bottles alone.
The responsible introduction of compostable service ware and recycling at stopovers has further enabled the minimisation of our plastic footprint.
The Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Education Programme has given young students the opportunity to discover the excitement of sailing and learn about plastic pollution and ways to protect our oceans. It’s available in six different languages and is currently being used in 38 different countries by approximately 70,000 students.
Todd McGuire, 11th Hour Racing Program Director, said: “The Volvo Ocean Race is setting an incredible example of how you can successfully plan and manage an international sporting event - in fact the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world - with sustainability fully integrated across all operations. Through the collaboration between organizers, sponsors, teams and local authorities, we have created a blueprint that other sports can follow - this is a powerful, measurable and tangible impact.”
Anne-Cecile Turner, Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Programme leader, added: “Minimising not only our own footprint but encouraging others to do the same has been a cornerstone of the Sustainability Programme.
“Along with our partners, the Race teams and the public we have made a real difference and hope that race goers have taken this vital message away with them to contribute to a plastic-free future.”