SailGP Chief Purpose Officer Fiona Morgan reflects on her time at COP28
As I reflect on the outcomes of COP28, the world’s largest climate conference, I am filled with a sense of cautious optimism.
While it may not have had the impact I hoped for - a commitment to phase out fossil fuels - the agreement to “transition away” from coal, oil and gas heralds a pivotal moment in our journey towards a better future.
Whether the transition comes quickly enough remains to be seen, so we still have a lot of work to do. That’s why I leave Dubai feeling more passionate and committed than ever to use the incredible power of sport to drive climate action and inclusivity.
The key takeaway from my experience in Dubai, filled with enlightening discussions with incredible leaders, is the universal agreement on one crucial point: we do possess all the necessary solutions, technologies and funds to combat the climate crisis. What we critically need now is a collective will to act.
That’s where I firmly believe the universal appeal of sport can play a transformative role. When our SailGP athletes speak, they command attention in a way that transcends the capabilities of politicians and scientists. Their words and actions have the power to galvanize millions of people, to engage them in changing their behaviors.
With that in mind, SailGP set out to be the leading sports voice at COP28 and challenge other sports to embed climate action into their organizations.
I feel immensely proud that together we showed up. The passion and commitment to purpose displayed by our SailGP athletes across so many speaking engagements in the Blue and Green Zones were not just inspiring - they were a call to action for the wider sporting community.
To be the leading sport at COP28 meant we needed to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And in that sense I’m blown away by the collaborative team effort from across the entire business to deliver a new benchmark for sustainable sporting events, brought to life by our Race For the Future takeover campaign broadcast to millions of people around the world.
While we’ll take this time to celebrate, my mind is already on SailGP’s goals for 2024 and what further impact we can make.
The marine sector is lagging behind other industries, especially the auto industry, in our transition to clean energy, and I believe SailGP can play a leading role in harnessing technology to drive key clean energy innovations. Imagine the ripple effect if we could impact the shipping industry, or if we could design and build the coast guard boat of the future?
Driving more inclusion in SailGP is also high on my list of priorities. It was a career highlight seeing our female athletes training on an F50 together for the first time and the response from the sporting world has been incredible. “If you can see it, you can be it” is a phrase I often think of, and this training session sent a clear message to young aspiring female athletes that our sport is evolving. We have a unique opportunity not only to change the face of sailing, but to demonstrate that inclusivity is both a moral imperative and a smart business strategy, as together we are stronger.
So while I look forward to a festive season with my family and friends and a chance to unwind, me and my team will be back even more motivated than ever to deliver impact in 2024, so watch this space!