Amelia Farrington, summer intern at Blue ESG, shares her views on the recent Quaynote conference, The Future of Superyachts.
Attending the Quaynote event served as an eye-opening experience for me, granting valuable insights into the world of the superyacht industry. Through engaging speakers and panelists sparking conversations, I acquired a newfound understanding of this sector.
The prevailing image that emerged was one of outdated practices, urgently in need of transformation to appeal to a wider audience. As an intern at Blue ESG, working alongside Nigel Marrison this summer, I bring a fresh perspective as an environmental science student approaching my final year at university, with no prior exposure to the superyacht industry. Allow me to share my insights and observations.
The event, titled ‘The Future of Superyachts’, attracted individuals who held a genuine concern for the industry's trajectory. Attendees ranged from those seeking a reliable source of income to those driven by ethical considerations. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the industry's longevity relies heavily on a collective interest and commitment from stakeholders. Without a shared sense of responsibility towards the future, the industry's very existence could be at stake.
A notable degree of arrogance within the superyacht community was alluded to, stemming from the industry's significant delay in adopting sustainable practices compared to many other sectors. It is important to acknowledge that superyachts cater to the luxury demands of ultra-high net worth individuals, making it a non-essential industry for our basic existence. Non-essential industries, especially those that have such a large environmental impact, should be at the forefront of positive change. As such, the continued discussions on the need for change and adaptation in the modern world are concerning when numerous other industries have already made substantial progress.
It is crucial for the industry to demonstrate tangible actions towards change, especially considering the continuous scrutiny it faces from the media. Considering the imminent need for widespread transformation, one would expect a sense of urgency. However, the industry's prevailing arrogance seems to suggest a misguided belief that change may not be necessary. Of course, this is far from the truth, as adaptation is inevitable for everyone.
The attendees of the conference demonstrated a shared commitment to enhancing both the sustainability of their respective companies and the superyacht industry by learning from each other. With the unification of these forward-thinking individuals who share a common vision, the industry has the potential to receive the much-needed direction and leadership required for comprehensive transformation.
Undoubtably, improving the sustainability of the industry will only attract more clients. When potential clients perceive an industry where the wellbeing of the crew is prioritised, where positive impacts on the environment and communities are actively pursued, and where collaboration with governments is seamless, it transforms the industry into a far more attractive proposition. The negative perceptions associated with the superyacht industry are removed and replaced with a sense of positivity and shared responsibility.
Crew retention, quality and overall happiness emerged as significant concerns among attendees at the event, and addressing these issues promptly is crucial. Implementing enhancements in training, support systems, communication channels, and leadership practices holds the potential to instigate a positive transformation in the working environment, ultimately making it a more sought-after and appealing career choice. By prioritizing these areas and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, the superyacht industry can create an environment that nurtures professional growth, ensures the wellbeing of its workforce, and encourages open dialogue and collaboration.
Such positive changes will not only attract talented individuals but also contribute to higher job satisfaction, productivity, and long-term career prospects within the industry. Listening to individuals who are proactively improving this area was encouraging, as it shows positive change is already in motion.
There is an obvious lack of confidence among industry stakeholders to initiate proactive change, with many seeming to wait until regulations mandate the necessary transformations. Delaying change until regulations force compliance may lead to rushed and potentially damaging adjustments that could harm the industry and its reputation in the meantime. Embracing the role of a ringleader in driving change opens doors to financial rewards and discounts, improved reputation, enables cost savings, and ensures a viable future for businesses and superyachts.
The future should be viewed as an exciting prospect, with the potential to redefine the industry’s image. This is an opportune moment to reinvent the superyacht sector, fostering a positive perspective that resonates with all stakeholders while actively contributing to the betterment of communities, people, and the environment. The necessary investment and capable leaders are already present, by connecting the two, the perfect partnership can facilitate the drive to a brighter superyacht future.