Water Revolution Foundation aims to reduce environmental impact and protect our oceans

Water Revolution Foundation is a new for-and-by-the-industry initiative, it is an independent, international, science-driven, non-profit organisation started from within the superyacht industry and with the industry’s best interest at heart yet with a strong ambition to significantly reduce on environmental impact and to protect the precious oceans.  A charitable and educational organisation which funds, manages and publishes research on the technology, operation and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse and stormwater collection plus treatment and supply systems – all in pursuit of ensuring water quality and improving water services. 

Mission
Water Revolution Foundation’s mission is to drive sustainability in the superyacht industry through collaboration and focus on innovation, leading the way for the industry to reduce its ecological footprint and looking after the world’s precious oceans. 

Three pillars
The foundation and its activities are based on the following three pillars: 

  1. Technology – Promoting technological solutions and encourage innovation to achieve a lighter footprint for the global yachting industry.
  2. Policy – Pro-actively create industry’s own agenda, beyond legislative developments, initiating progressive steps and actively being part of international and cross-industry worktables.
  3. Reinvest in ocean conservation – Looking after nature for ecosystems’ vitality, human well-being and yachting habitats. 

The ‘Why’
Like the planet, for the superyacht industry there is no plan B. Sustainability goes far beyond the environmental perspective, and the need to behave responsibly becomes a crucial aspect of strategy and operations. This applies equally to the global yachting industry; sustainability is key to our success. The superyacht industry is using valuable and sometimes even scarce resources. In contrast to other maritime sectors, yachting also relies directly on the health of oceans. Their conservation is vital for the planet’s well-being and we have a major role to play.  

As an industry, we have extraordinary potential to transform into a hub for innovation. We have the talent, technology and resources required; what we’ve been lacking is the hub. That’s where Water Revolution Foundation steps in. By working together to share these sustainable solutions, we can accelerate their adoption on a large scale. 

Looking beyond our own industry, there is a wide range of naval solutions available, from increasing the efficiency of on-board systems to renewable fuel sources and entirely ecological composites.  

Innovation before legislation
An illustrative example: it was in 2016 that the first elements of Tier III came into force. The rule stipulates that all engine installations with a power output of more than 130kW, whether it be a propulsion or auxiliary engine, that are to be used within Emission Control Areas (ECAs) for NOx (the only current examples being assigned to the North American East and West Coast, Hawaii and the US Caribbean) must be fitted with systems that ensure the vessels produce 74% less NOx pollution than previously allowed under Tier II. Crucially, in April 2014, IMO agreed to a five-year delay in the application date of Tier III limits for large yachts, specifically designed and used solely for recreational purposes, over 24m in length and under 500 GT. This delay was granted to provide affected industries with the necessary time to comply with the new emission standards. This brought the effective implementation date from 2016 to 2021. 

Fast-forward five years since the delay was granted, a myopic attempt to further delay the implementation for this category of yachts was made during a recent IMO-MEPC meeting. Unsurprisingly, the majority of delegations objected, reasoning that the sector had already been provided with a five-year exemption to develop the technology necessary to comply with Tier III requirements and that the technology was already available and being used by other sectors such as road and off-road. Additionally, a further delay would have an adverse impact on the health of coastal populations. Some delegations also pointed out that it would send a very wrong signal. Why, out of all seafaring vessels, should superyachts be exempted? Instead, the superyacht industry should take the lead.

Unique position
Taking a positive and constructive perspective, the yachting industry is in the unique position to work with the smartest, most creative, and influential clients. In fact each new-build project provides an opportunity for designers and shipyards to push the perimeter of innovation one notch further, creating new solutions and technical advancements.  The superyacht industry could take on an innovative position in the wider maritime industry, what Formula 1 has for the car industry. 

Fit for the future 
Water Revolution Foundation’s aim is to provide hands-on solutions and share measurable improvements to raise the environmental standard of the industry, making yachts truly ‘super’. Sustainability in yachting should not only be client-driven, the industry has a responsibility to reduce the ecological footprint of the fleet. This is expected to speak to a new generation of clients as well as employees, and to take a more pro-active approach, and not wait for goals and limits set by regulatory bodies that do not fit our unique industry. In other words, taking responsibility to future-proof the business.  

Water Revolution Foundation will be the home of those who want to act and make meaningful change through collaboration. Sustainability may no longer be a foreign concept in our industry, innovation and collaboration are key, let’s do it together. 

Find out more here: www.waterrevolutionfoundation.org

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