[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]
In December 2021, the PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) Grand Slam event became 10 times carbon positive thanks to their 2021 event sponsor, SOMWR. Furthermore, The Club Nautique Marignanais (CNM), SOMWR and the PWA also worked together to draw together key people in the water sports and environmental industry. This collaboration brought together meaningful conversations during a panel discussion, with focus on how to harness sporting events to implement environmental action in the lead up to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
As part of this, the SOMWR team worked closely with Delphine Bijvoet-Bremond, a local and key event organiser. Delphine volunteered for the event to successfully implement many environmental actions and reduce the events’ overall impact. Creating a fantastic case study of how to run sporting events while reducing any negative impact on the environment.
Environmental Actions Implemented
The implementation of a vast array of alternatives limited the impact at the event. Firstly, SOMWR provided riders with shirts made from Organic Cotton, reducing the event’s reliance on the fossil fuel-based lycra t-shirts. This also removed the possibility of micro-fibres being shed into the waterways! Building upon this, all SOMWR flags and branding on the event site were made from cotton instead of polyester. In addition, the event organisers worked together to find a solution to remove the plastic wrist brands for all riders, instead utilising cut up parts of old t-shirts woven together to make cotton wrist bands.
Normally at similar events, caterers use disposable food containers. For the PWA X SOMWR event, the cutlery and plates were the ‘norm’ that each of us would use at home. At the end of each day, the catering company took these away, washed them, and brought them back the next day. The event reused the plastic cups from the previous year and also washed these each day, reducing emissions for creating new products and avoiding the possibility of unsuccessful waste separation for recycling.
As chemical toilets are extremely harmful to the environment, the PWA Grand Slam event chose to use composting toilets instead, meaning no chemicals. Although they maybe took some getting used to, on the whole, it was a great swap!
There was plenty of time and places to hang out at the event. In an inspired move, Delphine sourced some sofas that were destined for disposal and cost absolutely nothing! This truly shows how working with the local community can benefit the event whilst also reducing the need to hire or buy new products.
Sailors For The Sea Bronze Certification
A combination of these efforts have led to the event being certified with a Bronze level status for the Clean Regatta Certification from Sailors for the Sea’s. All Future PWA events will be following the ‘Best Practice‘ recommendations so the event can reach Platinum level status.
1754 Mangroves Planted!
Finally, the full travel information of all athletes, staff and volunteers as well as the electricity usage and fuel for boats, has been assessed. Using this information SOMWR knows the full emissions of the event. For every 1 tonne identified, SOMWR plants 10 mangroves with Worldview International Foundation, making the event 10 times carbon positive.
Plastic Offset Program
For the first 1000 spectators at the event, 1.1 KG is to be collected though Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program. 1.1 KG is the equivalent amount of plastic that each person is responsible for reaching the oceans every year.
Panel Discussion for the Future
The PWA and SOMWR took the opportunity to invite key players within the water sports and environmental realm to discuss the topic of: ‘Environmental Action, Innovation and Disruption towards Paris 2024’. The focus of the discussion was why we need to use sports as a platform for the future, what can we activate right now, and during the pathway to Paris 2024.
Whilst there is a huge amount of environmental focus for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the equivalent CO2 emissions are only being made carbon neutral through natural sequestration. SOMWR believes more action is possible. The success of this PWA event, and other windsurf and SUP events supported by Starboard shows that going 10 x Climate Positive is not only possible, but viable!
Following this PWA X SOMWR event in Marignane, the panel discussion crew are meeting regularly and plan to connect with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). The stepping stone towards working with the International Olympic Committee.
Action for the Now
Whilst Olympic action is two years away, reduction methods will take place within the PWA events moving forwards. The panel members will share best practices from their events as well as learnings, errors and recommendations. This information will also be available for event organisers who are also taking the initiative to fight for our planet.
Thank you to all the panel members who attended!
Dan Reading – World Sailing
Dirk Ramhorst – Kieler Woche / Kiel Week
Jimmy Diaz – PWA
Kim Scholze – Moderator
Liam Dunkerbek – PWA Rider
Maximillion Reimers – Fridays For The Future
Eric Le Dissès – Mayor of Marignane
Mattias Neuman – Act Agency
Sarah-Quita Offringa – PWA Rider
Svein Rasmussen – Starboard / SOMWR
Tasmin Chilcott – Starboard / SOMWR
Timo Perschke – SOMWR
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]