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New Zealand SailGP team reaffirms commitment to a better planet

by James Rigby - NZL SailGP Team 2 Dec 2021 11:57 PST
New Zealand SailGP Team co-helmed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in action on Race Day 2 at Spain SailGP, Event 6, Season 2 in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain. 10th October © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP.

Team has reaffirmed its commitment to a better planet, signing the Ocean for Climate Declaration and joining the Race to Zero.

Several ambitious emissions reductions targets were announced by the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework at COP26, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 at the latest and reaching Net-Zero by 2040.

New and existing members of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework have been called upon to adopt new goals under this Framework, which aims to gather sports organisations, teams, athletes, and fans in a concerted effort to set the pace for climate action and raise awareness on the urgency required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The New Zealand SailGP Team became the first and only sports team in New Zealand to sign the Framework in April this year, and now joins the SailGP League, the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, the Premier League, Formula E and others in signing up to these new targets.

It was also announced that Sports for Climate Action Framework signatories who adopt these targets will officially enter Race to Zero – a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

Climate action is at the heart of SailGP’s Race for The Future strategy; measuring, reducing and continually challenging operations to reduce its impact. It has set a target of 55 percent reduction by 2025 and contributes to UN renewable energy projects.

Official Logistics Partner Kuehne+Nagel recently transported SailGP’s fleet around Europe using 89,000 litres of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), resulting in 90 per cent less carbon emissions compared to regular diesel fuel.

The New Zealand SailGP Team has also cut its own carbon footprint by reducing the number of shipping containers required, minimising international travel, becoming more efficient with chase boat fuel usage and opting for a vegetarian or vegan diet while at events. The New Zealand team currently leads SailGP’s Impact League, a second leaderboard which runs alongside the Season Championship to monitor the sustainability performance of teams.

New Zealand SailGP Team co-CEO Peter Burling said: “Climate change is the biggest issue of our time and meeting the scale of this challenge requires urgent action from everyone. As a team and a league, we have a great opportunity to step up and use our platform for good to inspire our fans.

“We’re really proud to be the first team in Aotearoa to sign up and recommit to the Framework, and we’d like to challenge other Kiwi teams to do the same and join us on this journey.”

Sport for Climate Action Lead at UN Climate Change, Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu said: “It is great to see The New Zealand SailGP Team stepping up again with a concrete and ambitious commitment towards reducing its climate impact in response to the climate emergency. We hope their commitment will inspire sport in New Zealand and beyond to join the race against climate change.”

As part of its commitment to the environment, the New Zealand SailGP Team is working closely with its Race for the Futurecharity partner Live Ocean, the marine conservation organisation founded by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke which aims to bring awareness to the critical role the ocean plays in a healthy future.

Both Live Ocean and the New Zealand SailGP Team have signed the Ocean for Climate Declaration, calling on governments, NGOs, scientific institutions, companies, cities and financial institutions to scale up ocean-based climate solutions.

Signed by numerous members of the ocean community, signatories are imploring governments and other non-state actors to recognise the key role that a healthy ocean plays in reducing CO2 emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and to scale up action in protecting the ocean, its ecosystems, species and resources.

New Zealand SailGP Team co-CEO Blair Tuke said: “The connection between the ocean and climate is clear - to have a healthy planet we must have a healthy ocean. Through the team’s partnership with Live Ocean and by signing the Ocean for Climate Declaration, we’re committing ourselves to taking positive ocean actions contributing to halving global emissions by 2030, working to restore coastal and marine ecosystems and using our collective voice to help amplify the important message of ocean restoration and protection.”

Other signatories of the Ocean for Climate Declaration include the National Geographic Society, United Nations Development Program, UN Global Compact, Waves of Change Coalition, World Economic Forum and WWF.

The next event on SailGP’s Season 2 global calendar is the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG, taking place on Sydney Harbour on 17-18 December 2021.

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