Sustainability and the myths that surround it in the Superyacht industry
In the wake of this year’s World Oceans Day it was refreshing to see so many industry players highlighting the overdue need to protect our oceans and, our industry. But, is enough being done outside of these days of note?
With the Med season kicking off, I do worry that sustainability may get left at the winter berth. It is the common case of getting too busy, general to do lists getting pushed behind important guest requests and crew tiredness reaching a peak. So, where does that leave sustainability?
This got me thinking about that common misconception that sustainability measures “take up more time”. So, this month let’s discuss the many myths and misconceptions of sustainability onboard.
Debunking the most common sustainability myths onboard
Myth: It will cost the yacht more money.
Truth: A lot of yacht crew feel that sustainability will skew their budgets. It may feel more expensive to start with, but fundamentally sustainability is about investing in more stable and high-quality systems. It is about slowing down purchasing, buying less and reducing overconsumption. For example, if the yacht must purchase a filtration system to eradicate plastic bottles. Think about this one-off payment versus the hundreds of shopping trips or orders to agents you make for water bottles. Put simply, sustainability pays itself off in the long run.
Myth: Sustainability is only about the environment.
Truth: When you think about sustainability pertaining to simply just the environment you can lose sight of the bigger picture. It is a three-dimensional concept which also considers the social and economic impacts. Check out part 3 of these musings which discus the social impacts when it comes to a sustainable yachting industry.
Myth: It takes too much time to be sustainable.
Truth: If we are honest, convenience is a yacht crews’ best friend. If it is quick, easy and gets the job done then it’s a winner! Sustainability doesn’t have to take up more of your time. It may take extra time in the beginning to alter mindsets and process changes. Bu, your new sustainable methods will eventually integrate into the yacht’s routine, soon becoming the new normal, just like any other changes made on board.
Myth: Sustainability compromises luxury.
Truth: Incorporating sustainability onto a yacht does not mean reducing the standard of living, it is about future proofing the yacht and the industry to ensure it doesn’t compromise future generations use. It is not about depriving the yacht of anything it needs. It is about using what you have onboard already and being mindful of the new things you purchase.
Myth: All the crew must go vegan
Truth: When it comes to the future of our planet and oceans there has been a lot of focus on the way we grow and consume food. There are a variety of diets out there which are claiming to be “the best for the future”. Whilst evident that a more plant-based diet will lessen your environmental impact. That doesn’t mean the crew have to sacrifice their Friday night BBQ burgers. Reducing meat consumption is important so, keep the burgers but introduce meat free days. Crew preferences and ever changing diets are a tough one to navigate onboard, especially with the influence of certain Netflix documentaries. If going plant based will cause too much contention, the best thing crew can do is reduce the yachts food waste. There are so many ways to reduce food waste and no amount of food should be taking up bin space.
Myth: Biodegradable & compostable solutions are great alternatives.
Truth: When we all became very aware of the plastic problem we have on a global level, there was a huge push to reduce one’s plastic consumption, especially single use, with those solutions came ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable.’ The issue here is that they come with their own problems and can sometimes land up in landfill anyway, for example it may mean that they only degrade under special conditions which in turn complicates the recycling of them. The best thing to eliminate single use plastic onboard is simply with reusable products.
Myth: One yacht can’t make a difference.
Truth: Most people within the industry may think that their actions do not impact the industry. Firstly, let’s think about that popular quote, “it’s just one straw – said 8 billion people.” Like it or not, each yacht and every crew member have an impact. There are a lot of crew that believe that the changes they are making are too small to make a dent in our problem but that is what got us here! Billions of unsustainable actions and decisions got us to where we are today, so what better than billions of sustainable actions and decisions getting us out of it?
Myth: Change can only come from legislation.
Truth: Whilst this intervention is crucial in making change compulsory for superyachts – why should we wait? We should make change through our choice rather than force. We can want to make the industry a better place without having to drown under a mountain of more of paperwork and jobs lists.
The Long Game
Whilst I may have answered a few general arguments here when it comes to sustainability onboard, ultimately it is a huge all-encompassing topic and there is always more to learn.
You cannot label a yacht ‘sustainable’ until a life cycle of every practice and product has been analysed. Even then, processes and technology are constantly evolving. To get to the goal of the industry becoming sustainable, there needs to be plenty of discussions, thoughts and changes being made on an ongoing basis.
If you or your crew have a specific question about making sustainable changes onboard but are not sure if you are going the right way about it, get in touch with Seastainable today to discuss more.
To read more of our articles on sustainability click here
For the rest of the SUSTAINABILITY MUSINGS follow this link.