Denmark has beaten defending champions New Zealand to win the podium for the planet after coming top of the Impact League leaderboard in Season 3.

Nicolai Sehested’s team picked up a total of 1,566 points across the 11-event season - narrowly beating Peter Burling’s team by just five points. Ben Ainslie’s Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team meanwhile comes in third with 1,516.

Denmark’s triumph means the team wins prize money, which will be donated to its Race For The Future partner, One Ocean Foundation. New Zealand and Emirates Team GBR have also won funds for their Race for the Future partners respectively.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Denmark training in San Francisco

It comes after a fierce season-long battle between Denmark and Season 2 Impact League champions New Zealand, with both teams regularly finishing events in first or second. But it was Denmark that finished the season with a total of five podium finishes and four event wins, winning $100K for One Ocean Foundation and pipping the Kiwis to the post.

Denmark driver Nicolai Sehested said: “We are delighted and proud to win the Impact League this season. It is impossible to win a competition as tough and unique as the Impact League without full commitment and dedication from everyone on the team, and the support and guidance of our partners ROCKWOOL and One Ocean Foundation.”

Season 3 // Denmark SailGP Team // Nicolai Sehested in between racing

Sehested added that the level of competition from the other teams was 'higher than ever before'.

"I think our victory shows what is possible with hard work, innovation and creativity. Since day one this season, we have approached the Impact League with the same belief, intensity and vigor that we approach racing in SailGP."

SailGP chief purpose officer Fiona Morgan added that she was 'proud' of Denmark's 'collaborative approach' to the Impact League.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Hans Christian with Impact League trophy

"From bringing on board One Ocean Foundation and working closely with them, inspiring their individual athletes to take action and engaging their title sponsor ROCKWOOL - one of the most sustainable brands in Denmark, to reaching out to other sports and organizations to bring everyone together, it really has been an incredibly collective strategy," she said.

Over the course of the season, Denmark impressed with numerous initiatives, including More Speed, Less Plastic, which was launched in January 2023 in collaboration with One Ocean Foundation.

Designed to raise awareness around ocean plastic pollution and reward sailors for racing fast, the initiative takes the top speed reached at each event and diverts the equivalent amount of plastic pollution from the ocean. Every km per hour is equivalent to at least 10kg of waste - resulting in a total of 5.13 tonnes of ocean bound waste diverted so far.

Elsewhere, athletes from the Denmark team conducted science experiments at five events this season - gathering samples of zooplankton, which were then shipped back to One Ocean Foundation’s Italy-based lab.

Season 3 // Dubai Sail Grand Prix // Denmark with Spain and the United States

A total of 1,100 young people were engaged at One Ocean Foundation workshops and science sessions, while Denmark also launched a mini Impact League at the 29er European Championships.

New Zealand’s highlights throughout the season included its Moanamana Project in collaboration with Live Ocean, which saw $50K distributed to climate-resilient kelp research in Whakarāupo Lyttelton. Emirates Team GBR meanwhile launched a social media based sustainability quiz themed around each race venue and visited schools at each SailGP event to engage young people with the team’s free-to-use digital resources.

Launched in Season 2, the Impact League measures teams’ efforts over each event according to ten robust criteria, including travel, tech and innovation, single-use plastic and using their voice for good. The results are independently audited and verified after each event.