Top 100: Farouk Nefzi on Feadship’s Holistic Approach to Sustainability

By George Bains

In anticipation of the Top100 ‘Building Green Giants’ premiere at BAFTA, London, welcomed a host of industry powerhouses to The Dilly Hotel, where we sat down to discuss responses to the greatest challenge of our time. First to arrive to the interview studio was Feadship’s Chief Marketing Officer, Farouk Nafzi, who spoke to Shari Liu about the Dutch shipyard’s multi-faceted approach to building more sustainable superyachts.

One of the industry’s pioneering innovators, sustainability is a focal point within Feadship. “As an industry, not only shipyards, we need to contribute to the challenge of global warming,” explained Mr Nefzi. “We are already catering to current and future generations, and the demand for sustainable solutions will be even greater in the future. So, you need to prepare yourselves for that. It’s going to be a vital ingredient to drive this industry forward.”

For Nefzi, it is essential to adopt a coordinated and holistic approach in order to achieve a meaningful impact. While there is rightly so much focus on developing new and innovative propulsion systems, of which Feadship is at the forefront, Nefzi emphasised that sustainability is a broad issue that must be addressed across many areas.

“What I find fascinating is that it’s always focused on the propulsion systems. At Feadship, we are of course inclined to look at that part of sustainability. So, in our current new builds we are putting into place fuel cell combination with hydrogen and methanol solutions, we are looking at facilitating yachts with biofuels.

“But you also have to look at alternative materials. Take the topic of teak for instance, this is going to be a big challenge and we are already quite close to finding an equal alternative.

“The combination of propulsion systems, finding alternatives, lighter materials, new innovations and greener innovations are absolutely a combination. You have to approach this from a holistic point of view.”

Feadship’s commitment to this approach is encapsulated in its new Amsterdam facility, heralded as one of the greenest yards in the world. Environmental concerns have been central in the construction and operation of the new facility, harnessing district heating and green sources of energy, including 2262 solar panels installed on the main building roof.

Farouk Nefzi goes on to speak to Shari Lui about Feadship’s involvement in the Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI), which he likens in simple terms to energy ratings on compliances. With YETI, shipyards have come together to create an index that serves as a benchmark for efficiency, while also providing a tool to help owners understand a shipyard’s environmental credibility when purchasing a superyacht.

Looking ahead, Nefzi believes that the emphasis on transparency and conscious consumerism among the new generation of owners will drive a faster implementation of sustainable practices. “The implementation of net-zero impact, for instance, is going to be a driving force for this generation. I think if you’re not into green solutions, being sustainable and catering to conscious consumerism, then it’s not a matter of whether you still exist. You’re simply out.”

The interview wrapped up with a confident and encouraging view on the superyacht industry’s ability to meet this challenge. “The yachting industry is like the Formula One, we are now really investing in a way faster speed than commercial shipbuilding to come up with green solutions. If you look at all the implementations, between now and the next 5 years you will see huge changes and yachts that are coming out with huge innovations.”

Feadship are innovating on many different fronts to reduce the environmental impact fo the production and operation of their superyachts. It is widely known that the Dutch shipyard has made huge progress towards revolutionary new propulsion systems which are ready to be implemented, so we can expect to see Feadship at the forefront of progress in this vital area of our industry.  

"You have to approach this from a holistic point of view."

Farouk Nefzi - Chief Marketing Officer, Feadship


"You have to approach this from a holistic point of view."

Farouk Nefzi - Chief Marketing Officer, Feadship
By George Bains
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