Ocean Summit – The Hague

The final Ocean Summit leads to strong commitments, including 11th Hour Racing’s continued support to the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Program.

The Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summits came to an exciting close with a two-day action-packed agenda in The Hague. This summit saw a gathering of six sailors, one from each competing team, on stage altogether and highlighted an incredible line-up of speakers each bringing different areas of expertise to the conversation.

The sailor’s panel “A View from the Sea” included Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Team Director Mark Towill, when asked about the future of the oceans he noted, “Raising awareness and taking action for ocean health in the sailing community has come so far during this race. Therefore, I am optimistic that the future is bright.”

Also speaking on the same panel, Carolijn Brouwer, now one of two women who are the first to win the Volvo Ocean Race noted, “For my son who’s been following me around the world, in Newport, for example, there was a kids Exploration Zone, and they were teaching kids about plastic in the oceans. I came home one night, and there was a note from my son on my bed, and it said, ‘Mommy, I will not put any plastic in the oceans, and I will put it in the bin.’ This is raising awareness, this is impact – he’s only seven years old, and when he goes back to school he will do a show-and-tell, and these are the kinds of things he will share.”

11th Hour Racing Co-Founder, Wendy Schmidt spoke on a panel about “The Role of Policy, Philanthropy, and Industry in Marine Debris.” When asked about the circular economy she noted, “We try to use technology to break through the problems that we’ve arrived at because they are problems of technology. So let’s use technology to get out of this mess, and we can do that by better understanding how nature is composed, how does it work.”

The event also brought a wide range of commitments from sailing organizations and local governments – all aimed at restoring ocean health. Announcements at The Hague stopover included:

  • World Sailing launched the World Sailing Trust, a new global charity, chaired by Dee Caffari, to promote the health of oceans and grow the participation of the sport to protect its future, reinforcing the legacy of the race.
  • Alongside the Province of Zuid Hollande, the city of The Hague signed up to the UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign and set out a plan to make all plastic products recyclable.
  • World Ocean Council, an ocean industry leadership alliance, revealed the formation of a cross-sectoral business coalition to address land-based sources of marine pollution with a focus on microplastic.

Along with these fantastic commitments, we are delighted to share 11th Hour Racing’s commitment to continuing the work of the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Program. To build upon the program’s significant sustainability achievements, the Race will take sustainability practices to the next level during the 2021/22 event. Meanwhile, in the run-up to the next edition, the program will continue to organize a range of international Ocean Summits, further expand the Education Program and continue to pioneer a Scientific Program focusing on ocean plastic for a sustainable future.

Anne-Cecile Turner, Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Program Leader, said: “The program will use the Volvo Ocean Race as a catalyst for change to preserve ocean health. The objective will be to lead, inspire and engage through an even stronger innovative program, combining sailing and sustainability innovation platforms designed to create real and tangible impact for ocean preservation, globally and locally.”

To meet these objectives, 11th Hour Racing will continue to collaborate with the race, along with UN Environment, to help deliver a lasting legacy and drive real change for a healthy planet.

Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing Co-Founder, and Strategic Director said: “The impact of our partnership with the Volvo Ocean Race has been truly remarkable, and we are honored and inspired by this journey. It’s been really rewarding to see our partnership with the race and the other sustainability partners grow stronger throughout each of the stopovers. Now that the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race is drawing to a close, it’s time to review and reflect on our achievements and to build upon the legacy we have created. We are thrilled to continue this collaboration and to further our support for the Sustainability Program. Protecting and restoring the health of our oceans is one race that none of us can afford to lose.”

Read more about the event and future plans from Volvo Ocean Race.

Image header photo credit: Pedro Martinez | Volvo AB