Once upon a time this conference would have involved 250 plus delegates at the Yacht Club de Monaco, followed by some serious networking overlooking the stunning marina. However, now it is just one more event that has had to adapt due to Covid. In this instance, rather than us all being together, instead there was a live panel, fewer and socially distanced delegates, and around 100 attendees via Zoom. It’s not ideal, but it worked and was a relatively smooth experience.
As part of the Planetary Health Week organised from 21st to 27th September, by the Foundation Prince Albert II, and under the aegis of the Monaco Capital of Yachting Experience, initiated by and held at the Yacht Club de Monaco, YCM and Credit Suisse announced the launch of the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index to measure the environmental impact of yacht design and use. Supported by famed explorer Mike Horn, a direct witness of the terrible state of our oceans, the aspiration of the SEA Index is to evolve over time into a global industry standard providing a transparent ecological rating for all large yachts.
Although the carbon emissions of superyachts, compared to other parts of the industry, are minimal, accounting for less than 1% of the total, shipyards and owners have taken the initiative and are launching innovative designs as they prepare for a sustainable yachting future.
In the absence of a global standard on emissions for superyachts, and to encourage the yachting industry to research and put forward solutions to reduce the environmental impact of superyacht designs, the Yacht Club de Monaco and Credit Suisse have partnered to establish the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index, in collaboration with Nobiskrug.
The SEA Index is a customised tool designed to assess and improve the environmental performance of yachts, to meet environmental objectives for lowering carbon emissions. The idea is for the index to be available online for owners, captains and other professionals, to carry out their own “no obligation” assessment. If their results meet the relevant criteria they can then request an audit with a view to obtaining an SEA Flag and an SEA rating.
It is an area that is of great concern to those involved in the Monegasque yachting sector, led by the Yacht Club de Monaco which unites over 800 owners of superyachts, including 37 of the world’s 100 largest yachts, under its flag. Under the aegis of a non-profit organisation, the label is aimed at displacement and semi-displacement superyachts and takes into account the CO2 emissions occurring when transporting one passenger and GT (Gross Tonnage, a measurement for yacht volume) over one nautical mile.
As part of the YCM-initiated ‘Monaco: Capital of Yachting’ project to make the Principality a centre of excellence and innovation for the luxury yacht sector, the SEA Index was initiated together with Credit Suisse, and has already received strong support from leading industry players.
“The next decade will be a decisive one for the future of our planet. Climate change is one of our biggest challenges. In line with the United Nations sustainable development goals for 2030, the next ten years must focus on ocean science to underpin our scientific knowledge, encourage technical innovation and promote the emergence of new solutions to reverse – we hope – the cycle of decline in ocean health”, says HSH the Sovereign Prince Albert II who is also president of the Yacht Club de Monaco, and is committed to a sustainable future.
It has been a Monegasque tradition to back initiatives to protect the ocean and its biodiversity for future generations. From the late 19th century, Prince Albert I was a pioneer, undertaking no fewer than 28 oceanographic campaigns. A commitment carried on today by HSH Prince Albert II through his Foundation.
Michel Buffat, Head Aviation & Yacht Finance at Credit Suisse commented: “It is a pleasure for us to partner with so many key international boating organisations to develop a first of its kind index to measure and rate the ecological efficiency of international yacht design. There has been strong demand from owners, keen to be able to contribute to the sustainability of the industry as it moves towards a climate-friendlier future. More and more owners are adopting a sustainable approach as they align their enthusiasm for the oceans with their passion for yachting. As an organization which puts sustainability centrally to its operations, it was a natural step for us to partner with the YCM on this very important initiative in the interest of our clients.”
Credit Suisse, under its Sustainability, Research & Investment Solutions (SRI) function, strives to lead the way in supporting clients as they adapt their business models and join the transition to a more sustainable economic system – this initiative represents a practical example of that relationship. SRI aims to provide at least CHF 300 billion of sustainable financing over the next 10 years.
Bernard d’Alessandri, YCM General Secretary and President of Cluster Yachting Monaco:
“The climate emergency is a reality. Our industry knows it has to reinvent itself as the automobile sector has done. If we aspire to position ourselves as a centre of excellence, it is up to us to take the initiative and lead by example. I would like to thank all those players in Monaco, federated by the Cluster Yachting Monaco, who have joined forces with us on this project with such enthusiasm. It is only by acting together that we will succeed in making our contribution to a more climate-friendly yachting sector that will do everything in its power to reduce the effects of air and sea pollution on health and the climate, and will encourage good practices across the board by owners and crew, ashore as well as on board.”
It will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to this voluntary index, though there are some very sound reasons behind it, especially when it comes to the resale value of superyachts, with owners being more and more conscious of the environment and their impact upon it. AN SEA rated and flagged boat will, they hope, be viewed as a more valuable commodity and will therefore retain more of its value over the years. Watch this space.
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