sir Ben ainsliE leadiNg the fight foR sustainabiLity in sport
Four-time Olympic sailing champion and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie shared his plans for developing the most sustainable sailing team in the history of the America’s Cup competition at the 2017 International Federations Forum.
Delivering the key note speech on the opening afternoon, Ainslie was supportive of GAISF President Patrick Baumann’s commitment to a sustainable agenda, and discussed some of the steps he and the Land Rover BAR team have taken.
“We have installed the UK’s first seabin, which has the capability to collect 83,000 plastic shopping bags or 20,000 plastic bottles per year,” Ainslie said. “We have also supported the Oyster Restoration Project and are continually investing in new ways of recycling carbon and lowering emissions.
“The team is also committed to meat free Mondays, which was certainly a culture shock for some! All in all, we have 10-12 key initiatives which are making a big difference.”
Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history having won five medals, including four golds, between 1996 and 2012. In 2013, Ainslie joined Team Oracle USA, leading the team’s comeback from eight points down to win the deciding race in San Francisco and lift the 34th America’s Cup.
Now spearheading a campaign to bring the world’s oldest sporting competition to Britain, sustainability is at the heart of Ainslie’s ambition. The Land Rover BAR team, which hope to compete for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021, have launched a number of initiatives to ensure they are not compromising on their primary goal of competing as cleanly as possible.
“Sustainability is at the core of what we’re doing. It’s the right thing to do. Sport has an opportunity to set the example and this is what we’re committed to,” Ainslie said, during his key note speech at the IF Forum.
“Everyone who joined the team knew this was a key part of our mantra, and it means that everyone is on the same page from the very start. We have all seen the damage that’s been done to our oceans and cities and that puts our responsibility into perspective.”
The America’s Cup, which holds World Sailing Major Oceanic Event status, announced its own Sustainability Charter in 2016, ensuring each team’s commitment to water conservation, recycling and protecting marine habitats.
“The America’s Cup is trying to set the example with this Sustainability Charter – this is now a key part of the competition parameters,” Ainslie said. “I’m extremely proud of how our team have embraced it and believe that sport – all of us here – can lead the change.”
The GAISF International Federation Forum took place between 8-10 November in Lausanne, Switzerland.