Over the past year, GreenSportsBlog has written a great deal about how Sir Ben Ainslie, his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup sailing team and 11th Hour Racing, its Exclusive Sustainability Partner, along with other corporate partners, are working hard to achieve what would be two sporting firsts: 1) Win Great Britain’s first America’s Cup, and 2) Do so while reducing carbon emissions. Click here, here and here for our earlier stories on Land Rover BAR and 11th Hour Racing.
Of course, GreenSportsBlog would be keenly interested in the groundbreaking sustainability aspects of the Land Rover BAR story—GSB’s beat is, after all, the intersection of Green + Sports.
But, at Thursday morning’s Land Rover BAR media breakfast in advance of this weekend’s America’s Cup World Series New York event, every question asked of Sir Ben by journalists from The Guardian USA, Sports Business Journal, TimeOut New York and others, was about sustainability.
Maybe, just maybe, pardon the pun, the climate is changing around media coverage of Green-Sports—and for the better.
As for the substance of what was said at the media breakfast, here are some nuggets from the sustainability-minded Q&A:
Sir Ben Ainslie, Skipper, Land Rover BAR
- “When I first met Wendy Schmidt (co-founder of 11th Hour Racing), she impressed upon me that we have to ‘go big’ with sustainability, that, by doing so, we can start to change the world.”
- “ORACLE TEAM USA, as defending champion, gets to set some of the rules governing the 2017 America’s Cup. They wanted a 62 foot race boat size. But negotiations with us and the other teams resulted in a 50 foot boat. Less cost, fewer materials, better for the environment.”
- “I just came from a meeting with the skippers of the five other squads [in the America’s Club] about the adoption of a 10-point Sustainability Charter…The guys all reacted well. We are going to make this happen…The Charter will really help the sport and grab the fans…Charter items include collecting rainwater, energy efficiency, limiting single use plastics.”
Wendy Schmidt, Co-Founder, 11th Hour Racing
- “11th Hour got started by sponsoring smaller teams and races in Newport, RI. We’ve never done anything at this [sponsoring an America’s Cup team] scale.”
- “Bringing sustainability to sailing at this scale will cost more upfront in some respects and that’s where our sponsorship of Land Rover BAR comes in. It helps in the effort to build a ‘Net-Zero’ home base, recycle carbon fibers, eliminate water bottles.”
- “Engaging the entire Land Rover BAR team [sailors, designers, etc.] is really important—instituting ‘Meatless Mondays’ is just one small way we’re going to do that.”
- “What does success look like? Watching the team be competitive while reducing its carbon footprint.”
- “We believe corporations in many sectors can follow our lead in making sustainability a core element in its sports sponsorship programs.”