Making Waves for the Environment: SailGP Technologies' Journey Towards Sustainability

The team at SailGP Technologies build facility is committed to reducing their carbon footprint and driving positive environmental change in their industry.

Led by Sarah Anderson, SailGP Technologies Sustainability Coordinator, the team is working with Toitu Envirocare, SailGP’s Global Purpose team, The Packaging Forum, and Marine Shift 360 to establish environmental standards, review waste management, and reduce unnecessary resource consumption.

The first changes Anderson implemented were in areas where there could be an immediate impact. Areas such as power consumption and waste management. The build facility is in the process of switching from fluorescent to LED lights, reducing the use of air conditioning units, and optimising machine usage by taking into account the time of day power is being used. The team has also introduced on-site composting and recycling schemes in partnership with global and local businesses to recycle and upcycle carbon fibre and soft plastics.

One of the key partnerships established by SailGP Technologies was with Future Post, a local New Zealand company that recycles soft plastics into fence posts. Initially, the recycling program was limited to only recycling the plastic backing on carbon fibre, but it has since expanded significantly. The entire team is now involved, recycling nearly all of the soft plastics at the build facility. This encompasses plastic used in various aspects such as vacuum bagging during carbon laminating, packaging materials like bubble wrap, pallet wrap, individual product packaging and even plastic waste from the kitchen and offices. Anderson anticipates that the build team will triple their soft plastic recycling efforts in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Anderson created the recycling program with the intention of making it simple and accessible for everyone in the facility. This was achieved by setting up a vast network of designated recycling bins and educating the team on the proper disposal of soft plastics. The program provides guidance on the condition and types of plastic that can be recycled, ensuring that the recycling process is efficient. By implementing a well-organised system, Anderson can monitor waste and develop solutions to minimise intake. This approach empowers the team to take charge and make meaningful contributions towards reducing waste.

As part of the carbon fibre waste minimisation program, SailGP Technologies collaborates with carbon recycling company Gen 2 Carbon and a local New Zealand bike company Velos. The program involves providing small, unusable, uncured carbon fibre offcuts to Velos for use in repairing and building their bikes. And the cured offcut carbon is collected and sent to Gen 2 Carbon to be transformed into a new recycled carbon material. While there is still much to learn about the processes and types of recycling of different materials, the team is committed to establishing effective systems to minimise waste. The program is in its early stages but has the potential for significant growth, with a strong emphasis on education and awareness.

Anderson explained that the boat building industry has not traditionally been engaged with sustainability, and that materials used in boat building are often harmful to the environment. However, the industry is changing, with legislation and incentives making it more attractive for businesses to become more sustainable and responsible. Companies that fail to make changes risk being left behind as employees and customers demand more sustainable practices.

Toitu Envirocare // New Zealand company leading businesses with their system of carbon and environmental programs. Equipping companies with the science-based tools, actions and evidence to make real progress and sustain the future of our environment and economy. Toitu is to care for the life of this place, our people and future.

SailGP Propose team // SailGP's ambition is to be the world's most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports and entertainment platform. The Purpose team is responsible for guiding all SailGP departments to act upon the vision and values of SailGP, activating the purpose focusing on environmental and social sustainability.

Marine Shift 360 // A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool designed specifically for the marine industry to accelerate positive, sustainable changes within the design and manufacturing stages.

Future Post // Innovative New Zealand owned company recycling domestic and commercial waste plastic from local businesses into premium products that perform better, for longer. Effectively they “Close The Loop” with recycling and using 100% recycled products. Designed by a fencer. Built for a farmer.

Velos // New Zealand's trusted bike repair store. Their state of the art workshops offer world leading technology, service and expertise in structural and cosmetic bike repairs. Keeping you safe and getting you back on the road sooner.

Gen 2 Carbon // Global company focused on delivering the next generation of carbon fibre recovery systems. Supporting customers looking to reduce their environmental impact, by recycling carbon fibre into non woven technologies.