Neutralising The Superyacht Industry's Ecological Footprint
Yacht Style|Issue 59
Robert Van Tol, Executive Director of Water Revolution Foundation, speaks to Yacht Style about the organisation’s efforts to neutralise the superyacht industry’s ecological footprint.
Claire Lim

What led to the creation of the Water-Revolution Foundation?

The founders wanted to get like-minded yachting companies together to work on tackling the industry’s environmental impact and reducing the use of valuable natural resources. At the same time, with its affluent clientele, yachting is in a very strategic position to drive change and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Being innovative, often even custom building, and with a strong passion for the water and exploring the beauty of nature, yachting has all ingredients to become a force for positive change and a steward of our beloved oceans.

The realisation and utilisation of this position was missing, so Water Revolution Foundation was founded to provide a collaborative platform for companies from across the yachting sector to join forces and drive sustainability.

How does Water Revolution Foundation collaborate with other yachting bodies also working towards setting standards on environmental and operational issues?

We naturally seek collaboration where it fits. We work closely with SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association), which has permanent consultancy status to represent the interest of the superyacht industry at IMO (International Maritime Organization).

We are in contact with ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations), PYA (Professional Yachting Association), LYBRA (Leading Yacht Brokers Association), Yacht Club de Monaco and other organisations. Wherever we see fit, we look for and welcome collaboration.

How is the Foundation appealing to superyacht builders and owners?

Yachting is a specific niche within the maritime sector. Where commercial shipping mostly looks at the economic ROI, yachting has different drivers for its clients to purchase a yacht and how to approach the reduction of environmental impact.

We believe rewarding those who invest in more environmentally friendly technology is more effective and a positive approach that we need as an emotionally driven, niche sector.

It all starts with measuring, which is why we launched our Yacht Assessment Tool, a software tool customised for large yachts that’s able to assess the entire environmental impact of these complex products. It’s based on life-cycle assessment (LCA), so it not only assesses the impact when it operates but includes the build, maintenance and refit stages a yacht goes through in its life cycle.

By comparing and rating yachts on their environmental credentials, we expect the incentives to be worth the investments and that clients will want to go far beyond only fuel savings. It will hopefully lead to a new summum of luxury, sustainable luxury.

We’re working on expanding the list of benefits for yachts with a better rating. However, we also take care of the existing fleet by providing the tools to objectively and scientifically assess and improve the yachts, to be upgraded on the rating index.

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