America’s Cup Spotlight on sustainability at Land Rover BAR

Released by America’s Cup.

One week on from the announcement of the America’s Cup Sustainability Charter, our spotlight on how the teams are putting the Charter into practice falls on the UK’s Land Rover BAR, led by Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie who has long been a passionate supporter of environmental responsibility.

Land Rover BAR, supported by Exclusive Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing, have been leading proponents of sustainable sport since launching in 2014, with a stated mission to become the world’s most sustainable professional sports team.

The team has already achieved a number of notable successes, including being the only sports team in the UK to be awarded the Olympic-inspired international standard, ISO 20121, which provides a framework for the delivery of sustainable operations throughout the team’s activities.

Under Sir Ben’s guidance, and through close collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, the team has been putting the ten points of the America’s Cup Sustainability Charter into action and have already achieved a number of significant milestones, including:

  • Single use plastics: Saying “no to single use plastics”, issuing all team members with refillable bottles, and providing filtration stations at the team’s UK base in Portsmouth and at event venues. Refillable bottles are also given to team guests, and children in outreach programmes, and single use coffee cups have been eliminated, right across the team.
  • Reuse and recycling: Land Rover BAR has a comprehensive waste management policy at the team base in Portsmouth, with zero waste to landfill and over 60% recycling. They track their progress in this area and are currently meeting and exceeding targets, and, taking this further, Land Rover BAR set up their own temporary recycling stations at all events.
  • Water conservation: The team developed the original wing butt that re-uses the water ballast required each time the wing is hoisted and rigged. It saved 28000 litres of water in 2015. The team created a mobile version for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, and share this with the other America’s Cup teams. In addition, rain water tanks have been installed at all the team’s operating bases in the UK, to avoid having to use potable water for boat washing.
  • Avoiding water pollution: The team checks all its cleaning products to ensure they are environmentally friendly both in production and disposal, and no cleaning products are used when the boats are washed down. Each support boat is stocked with a portable spill kit and the team has a pollution plan and kits available on shore.
  • Saving energy: The team analyzed its carbon footprint and recognized that electricity consumption and the construction of the test and race boats were the areas of biggest impact. They have worked with Land Rover BAR’s renewable energy partner, Low Carbon, to install 432 solar panels at their Portsmouth base, supplying 20% of their electricity. The rest of the mains electricity comes from a renewable energy supplier, and in Bermuda the team will install solar panels that exceed their predicted consumption, making Land Rover BAR a net contributor of clean green energy to the island.
  • Protecting marine habitats: Land Rover BAR has a stated intent of wanting to create a positive impact, not just protect what exists and, in Portsmouth, they have installed an oyster pontoon to host adult oysters at their UK base as part of a project to restore the depleted Solent population. The thousand oysters are monitored by the Portsmouth University Institute of Marine Science and survival rates have been exceptional with only 3% mortality, and increased levels of spat in water samples, demonstrating active reproduction.
  • Being diverse and inclusive: The team opened the Tech Deck education centre at the Portsmouth base to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. They have a steady stream of apprentices, interns and work experience students working with the team, and over 60 apprentice students from Southampton City College were involved in building the team’s docking RIBS. The team run outreach events at every Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event. 
  • Supporting the local economy: Land Rover BAR are working with BT, the team’s Technology in Sustainability Partner, to re-develop their supplier sustainability assessment tool for the team’s supply chain. This will enable suppliers to be benchmarked against the best in class and drive their own innovation and efficiency. The team use local suppliers wherever possible.
  • Communicating a better future: Sports teams represent key role models in society and Land Rover BAR understands that their influence should extend far beyond the race course. The team publishes an annual sustainability report, along with a steady stream of sustainability news and information across all communications channels, and they work with 11th Hour Racing to spread the message of sustainability far and wide.
  • Sustainability Champions: The team appointed Dr. Susie Tomson as Sustainability Manager within days of the decision to go ahead with the challenge for the 35th America’s Cup, and she was subsequently joined by Amy Munro as Sustainability Officer. The team’s Exclusive Sustainability Partner, 11th Hour Racing was Land Rover BAR’s first commercial partner, in place at the launch in June 2014. Every team member understands the philosophy and what it means to their role in the organisation. Land Rover BAR believe it defines what they do as a team, and is at the heart of all their activities.

Photos ©Land Rover BAR

Published by: America’s Cup, October 10, 2016.