Sponsors and universities stimulate innovation for World Sailing

World governing body also preparing to publish its sustainability strategy later this month

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Dan Reading (second from right), alongside BASIS chair Russell Seymour (left), Kirstin McEvoy of The Jockey Club (second from left), and Brian McCullough of Seattle University (right)

World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport, is working with sponsors and university partners to make its future operations – and those of marine sport in general – more eco-friendly.

Dan Reading, World Sailing’s sustainability programme manager, said its partnership with data and software firm SAP was helping to create useful sustainability tools, adding that tie-ups with higher education institutions were also producing innovation in this area.

“We have people designing boats, looking at new materials, having people work out different production methods, and it’s really useful,” he said, before suggesting that new discoveries could be applied to the wider marine industry.

Earlier this year, World Sailing became the first international sports federation to be awarded the ISO 20121 excellence in sustainable events standard.

The body also put a new sustainability strategy, Agenda 2030, out for consultation to the sport’s key stakeholders. Reading told delegates at the Sustainable Innovation in Sport conference that the strategy was very close to being finalised, with a May launch expected.

Agenda 2030, said Reading, was developed using the same frameworks as the International Olympic Committee’s sustainability strategy and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Reading said consistent training experiences for each nation affiliated with the world governing body was crucial to the successful implementation of the strategy.

He said there would be one- and two-day courses for all members, as well as forums and the national conference, which will shed more light on the desired implementation of the strategy.

“When it comes to implementation in different countries, in terms of their ability and training, some countries have bigger federations so there’s more infrastructure and they have an established training syllabus, so it’s almost easier,” he said. “Because sailing is a tactical sport, there’s always an element of training. Countries where that training is in place will have the tools and ability to add the sustainability messages into their training.”

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