Yachting News » Events » IBI and Confindustria Nautica Host the First World Yachting Sustainability Forum

IBI and Confindustria Nautica Host the First World Yachting Sustainability Forum

The first edition of Shaping the Future – World Yachting Sustainability Forum organised by International Boat Industry (IBI) and Confindustria Nautica concluded in Genoa.

Over 100 entrepreneurs from the Italian nautical industry, institutional guests and the international press attended the event.

“The topics covered in this first edition of the World Yachting Sustainability Forum, which we organized in collaboration with IBI, are extremely topical for our sector and in line with the agenda of Confindustria Nautica for the coming years, already dedicated to the strategic issue of digital and green innovation,” said Marina Stella, General Manager of Confindustria Nautica. “In fact, our companies are in the midst of this transition which will make it possible to attract new consumers but also talents and investments.”

The study presented by McKinsey & Company confirmed that the average age of shipowners will see a further reduction. The consumer in the 35-45 age range is very attentive to the issues of technological and sustainable innovation and the nautical sector has already voluntarily carried out a series of actions for some time to obtain a significant reduction in the environmental impact compared to the past. Confindustria Nautica will continue to play a fundamental role in creating awareness among companies in the sector and accompanying them in this transition also through the construction of transversal networks and through discussions within the Sustainability Committee of the Association which actively participates in all the international tables for be able to support these issues.

Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Confindustria Nautica Research Office Director, said: “The nautical industry, despite being a sector with minimal environmental impact, has been investing heavily and for a long time in technological innovation and is now entering the real transition phase towards new sustainability objectives, with a time horizon which ideally is set at 2035. Certainly for the nautical sector it is necessary to examine and study different technological solutions, which are suitable for the multiple market segments and for the various types of use of pleasure boats. The role of an Association like ours is therefore to guarantee our companies the possibility of operating in research and development in every direction, in the best regulatory and bureaucratic conditions, not only at a national level.

“Without a doubt this is the most important challenge and perhaps the greatest opportunity facing the yachting industry in recent times,” added Ed Slack, managing editor of IBI – International Boat Industry, who defined the path of the marine industry towards the goal of carbon neutrality, at the opening of the conference.

The President of Confindustria Nautica, Saverio Cecchi, opened the conference by illustrating the pioneering role that the Italian pleasure boating industry is playing in responding to future challenges and managing new opportunities. His words were followed by those of the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, who underlined the role that the city has assumed in supporting boating and its mission to make Genoa the "capital of yachting in the Mediterranean."

Ed Slack then welcomed McKinsey & Company to the stage, who gave the first of two sustainability-focused presentations. McKinsey partners, Troy Baltic and Erik Dellborg, outlined the outlook for the yachting industry and offered input on how various industry players could be positioned to meet future challenges.

"Sustainability and the creation of value coexist as a goal," Baltic told the audience, describing the situation of companies that often find themselves operating both in "attack", to grow, and in "defense", to be protected also from the point of view of future legislation.

Erik Dellborg then underlined what could be the economic advantages to be obtained, even in the short term, in the commitment to de-carbonise the supply chain. By sourcing more sustainable products, the industry could “tilt the balance,” Dellborg said, while working on propulsion system changes that take longer to have an impact.

Opening the first panel discussion, Ed Slack introduced guest speakers: Jeff Wasil (NMMA Director of Environment, Health & Safety Compliance); Nicola Pomi (Director Yacht and Superyacht division, Volvo Penta); Michele Francioni (Vice President, MSC Cruises); together with McKinsey's Troy Baltic and Erik Dellborg to discuss the most important challenges facing the industry. In short, it emerged that the nautical industry must continue to value and share its successes already achieved in the process towards decarbonisation.

All speakers agreed on the need for a collective approach from the marine industry, highlighting that there is no single solution to de-carbonise the sector. The key is represented by a summation of results, building efficiency and adopting different propulsion systems depending on the sector.

Michael Harney of McKinsey & Company then presented the customer profile of the future to the audience, outlining the potential strategies aligned with the profile of the new generation of yachtsmen, their values ​​and therefore their propensity to purchase which is very different from that of the past.

IBI Director Ed Slack said ongoing discussions and discussions have been essential in shaping industry responses to the sustainability challenge, but action remains critical. Harney then closed his presentation by indicating an action plan, in which the development of a detailed vision of the future customer and the definition of operational changes become necessary to correctly position a brand on today's market and thus respond to the needs of a new generation of younger consumers – with Generation Z who will surpass the Millennials in 2036 – for which sustainability and digitisation are of fundamental importance.

Harney was then joined on stage by Eugenio Blasetti , Head of Media Relations at Mercedes Italy; Carlo Iacovini, General Manager of the electric motorcycle manufacturer Energica; Nicola Pomi of Volvo Penta and Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Director of the Research Office of Confindustria Nautica, to talk about the different opportunities for the sector that will derive in the future from the transfer of wealth of about 18 trillion dollars by 2030 by the baby generation boom.

In short, the industry needs to take a collective approach: collaborate where possible, evolve, and resist the urge to look for quick fixes. “We have to be pragmatic,” Wasil said. The marine industry is in a privileged position to learn from other sectors that are further along the path of de-carbonisation by sharing the awareness that the time is ripe: markets are transforming and it is a strategic moment for the industry to invest with the aim of reaching the consumer of tomorrow.

This edition of the World Yachting Sustainability Forum is only the first. Debate and confrontation are key to determining the direction of travel, but a plan of action is key,” Ed Slack summed up in conclusion. “The information we have gathered is very useful: the marine industry is making progress. It goes without saying that we can and must do more. Forums like this are essential to encourage a collective approach: no reality can achieve its goals independently. Industry must work together to convince governments, legislators and consumers that they have the skills, tools and will to govern the transition. See you in September for the 63rd Genoa International Boat Show.”


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