Southampton International Boat Show Strives for Sustainability

By Freya Cottrell

In 2018 Oceanco took a major step toward sustainable yachting when it launched the 106m sail yacht Black Pearl. The self-sufficient zero emissions yacht has become a catalyst in bringing sustainability to the forefront of the superyacht industry.

Boat shows and yachting events are stepping up to the challenges and threats that are facing the industry and making environmentalism a top priority. As environmental awareness rises and sustainability becomes a prime concern on everyone’s agenda we take a look at how sustainability is being embraced at events such as the Southampton International Boat Show.

With industry behemoths such as Feadship announcing its intention to go emissions free by 2025, it is no wonder that the events that surround the world of yachting are focussing on creating greener environments for their shows. During the lead up to the Southampton International Boat Show, British Marine’s CEO Lesley Robinson commented on the importance of creating a sustainable yachting environment, saying: “The ocean is our playground, and we need to take care of it and protect it now and for future generations to enjoy.” 

Introductions of bans on single use plastic and the necessity to exhibit at events with sustainable and recyclable promotional materials has risen considerably during the last few years. The International Federation of Boat Show Organisers - who oversee world wide yacht shows such as the Genoa International Boat Show and the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show - have pledged to #ReThinkPlastic which is an initiative that endeavours to communicate diverse information on issues related to plastic pollution in order to increase ecological awareness amongst the exhibitors and visitors of its shows. IFBSO member boat shows also aim to reduce or eliminate single use plastics at their events and embrace the principles of corporate social responsibility.

Southampton International Boat Show is three years into a five year sustainability pledge and requires all exhibitors to follow the show’s sustainability pledge including new environmental requirements. The organisers of the show, British Marine, are re-introducing the Exhibitor Environmental Award. The award is given to the exhibitor whose stand and operations at the show contribute the most towards sustainability; by making their stand reusable, by sharing ideas and resources to others or by implementing a green exhibit strategy.

Even the smallest changes can make an enormous difference; buzzwords such as green awareness and environmental agenda spend a lot of time being bandied around but it is difficult to absorb the seriousness of this lexicon if the speaker is sipping from a plastic bottle when using them.

"The ocean is our playground, and we need to take care of it and protect it now and for future generations to enjoy."

Lesley Robinson, CEO British Marine

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"The ocean is our playground, and we need to take care of it and protect it now and for future generations to enjoy."

Lesley Robinson, CEO British Marine
By Freya Cottrell
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