The Monaco Yacht Show – held from 28 September to 1 October – may have closed the doors on its 2022 edition, but it also marked the opening of several new initiatives. Among them was a Sustainability Conference held on Wednesday 28 September, upon the show’s opening.
The Monaco Yacht Show and SYBAss, together with Water Revolution Foundation and Superyacht Life Foundation, were the key partners behind the Sustainability Conference – an open-door panel discussion that aimed to inform the wider media with a snapshot of how the superyacht industry is making progress in the area of sustainability.
The representatives on the panel included Gaëlle Tallarida, Managing Director of the Monaco Yacht Show; Robert van Tol, Executive Director of Water Revolution Foundation; naval architect Philippe Briand; CEO of the Baltic Yachts shipyard Anders Kurtén; and Giedo Loeff, who works as Head of Research and Development at Dutch superyacht builder Feadship. The panel was hosted and moderated by Tony Harris, Superyacht Industry Ambassador at Informa Markets.
The first part of the discussion included short updates from each of the panellists, who gave an insight into key developments and thought processes that are driving the industry forward. Among those, outlined by Gaëlle Tallarida, was an introduction to a new initiative for the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show – the Sustainability Hub. Created to highlight innovative projects and companies offering sustainable solutions to the superyacht industry, the Hub’s exhibitors had all been verified for eligibility by Water Revolution Foundation, the non-profit organisation that is developing various tools to help the industry reduce its environmental footprint.
Tallarida also described the show’s efforts to become more sustainable, including measures it is taking to reduce its own impact, its commitment to the Monaco Pact in collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and its work with Water Revolution Foundation on setting up the Sustainability Hub.
“We are committed to a more sustainable event, and we already have solutions in place,” said Tallarida. “Moreover, the Sustainability Hub highlights sustainable solutions and projects that help reduce the superyacht environmental footprint with the support of the yachting industry and with the help of Water Revolution Foundation. The Hub has start-ups specialising in technology, solutions and eco-friendly concepts, and it is set to take a leading role in showcasing innovative and future superyachting solutions.”
For Robert van Tol of Water Revolution Foundation, the conference was a chance to explain how the foundation is driving both measurement and cooperation within the industry to highlight the importance of full lifecycle assessment, develop the tools that will enable builders, designers and suppliers to make tangible differences in their collective footprint, and foster a community of shared research that will benefit the whole industry.
“Yachting is the only maritime sector that has a dedicated non-profit organisation for tackling its environmental impact, and there’s a huge amount you can gain in terms of efficiency to share what has been worked on – and the results of – research and development,” said Van Tol. “And where commercial ships just use the oceans to transport goods from A to B, yachting has an extra connection – it is our back garden. As an organisation we focus on reducing the negative impacts on the environment but also on ocean conservation, which is an opportunity to have a collective positive impact. This is a growing initiative and more and more companies are coming on board.”
Philippe Briand presented technical detail on how yacht design can make a significant difference in the efficiency of vessels, in particular when low-resistance hull design typical in sailing yacht naval architecture is applied to motor yacht hulls. He also explained some of the advancements being made in capturing green energy by harnessing the wind and through hydrogeneration when sailing, alongside solar energy. It speaks to reducing the demand for and dependence on fossil fuels, a key consideration as yachting looks to make the energy transition to renewables and carbon-neutral power.
It was a facet that was emphasised further by Giedo Loeff, who explored how Feadship’s own research over the past 15 years has focused on the transition to renewable fuels, epitomised by the recent Pure yacht concept which lays out a roadmap to 2030 with a propulsion system that begins by switching immediately to renewable, fossil-free diesel, and progresses through alternative fuels such as methanol and hydrogen for the future.
Anders Kurtén also addressed the build side of the industry, outlining how Baltic Yachts has been taking steps to incorporate more renewable, recycled or alternative materials in yacht construction – for example, using flax in place of glass fibre or carbon in hull and frame construction and monitoring the development of bio-resins to replace vinylester. “A superyacht is a product that exists for one reason – to put a smile on the owner’s face,” Kurtén enthused. “Seeing as the world is changing, we’d like to act in a way by which they can continue to buy a yacht with a good conscience. We believe that our customers represent about 0,003 per cent of the global population but as they control 15 per cent of global assets, their actions are lighting the way as thought leaders. There’s no silver bullet but sustainability is achieved by focusing on multiple small details all combined. And our customers collaborate with us to create sustainable solutions.”
Added Van Tol: “Water Revolution Foundation is a collaborative platform that attracts like-minded companies and individuals to work together.”
“Our aim with the conference was to show that the industry is really making progress in this area of sustainability, and to inform the media and the wider public about all of the new developments that are going on in the background both with existing and established builders and suppliers but also with new companies that are innovating in this sector and attracting investment in this sector,” said Tony Harris. “All of the ideas presented at the conference are happening.”
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