SailGP has touched down in Dubai, gearing up for the adrenaline-fueled action due to take place at Mina Rashid this weekend for the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. But that’s not the only reason we’ve landed in Dubai, coincidentally, climate action’s biggest stage, COP28, has been taking place for the last nine days and through this weekend.
When Dubai was added to our Season 4 calendar, SailGP and our athletes immediately sought opportunities to get involved in COP28 and sustainable events hosted throughout the city. Athletes and senior leaders have experienced firsthand sport’s power in driving change and using their platforms as a voice for good, getting involved was of the utmost importance.
Our Chief Purpose Officer Fi Morgan has been out this week relentlessly campaigning throughout COP and its surrounding events to shine a light on the issues, but also discuss the solutions. From discussions and attending events this week, it’s clear that driving serious and meaningful change and impact starts with innovation. It’s one of the key pillars of our Race for the Future takeover in Dubai this weekend and it lies at the core of our global championship.
Take our Impact League for example, our ‘podium for the planet’ – a competition alongside racing between our ten national teams which rewards the teams’ positive environmental and social actions. Fiona and team came up with this world-first initiative and we’ve never looked back. As a purpose-led sporting league, it’s about doing things differently with the resources we have and with ten national teams that love to win – a competition was a no brainer.
Innovation doesn’t only lie with our athletes. From inception, SailGP has collaborated with partners, in particular Oracle and their Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), to lead the way in innovation.
This is no more evident than with our broadcast operations. OCI allows our entire broadcast team, over 120 employees, to work remotely from our London studio, all while racing is taking place somewhere else in the world. We implemented remote production and an Impact League because sport must show the world the way. And we haven’t stopped there.
Our partnership with Kuehne+Nagel delivers carbon-neutral logistics and has led to a 69% reduction in freight emissions in last season's logistics carbon footprint, avoiding approximately 706 tCO2e, with air freight minimised except for boat damage and/or repairs.
We analyze every aspect of our global league and find ways to be better. Our Dubai event will be powered by 100% clean energy onshore saving a massive 64 tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of taking 14 cars off the road for a year. And a reduction of 36% of our on-water fleet through thinking differently and technology – taking race management and team coaches off-water and creating an innovative on-shore solution.
We flipped the sport of sailing on its head and transformed it in a way that no one could have imagined 15-20 years ago. So, my question is, what can other sports do to drive change and impact?