Ben Ainslie Racing puts sailing in sustainability spotlight

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) has been awarded ISO 20121 certification for sustainability across all its operations this week, the first such certification for a sports team in the UK.

To achieve the goal of ISO 20121, BAR worked with a range of sustainability experts involved in Green Blue – the joint environment programme created by the Royal Yachting Association and the British Marine Federation in 2005 to promote sustainability across the UK recreational boating sector.

The BAR team, which was launched by four time Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie in 2014 with the long-term aim of winning the Americas Cup, has also partnered with 11th Hour Racing to achieve its sustainability goals. 

Sustainable sports

BAR sustainability manager Dr Susie Tomson said: “We are striving to achieve major sustainability objectives, with a light environmental footprint, zero waste and minimal energy consumption. We also have significant opportunities for creating positive change through our community engagement, and building an innovative technical and design capacity and skills base.

“The America’s Cup attracts more media and public attention than any other sailing contest, and we can use this spotlight to lead change.”

ISO 20121 is a management system standard that has been designed to help organisations in the events industry improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products and services. The Olympic Games in 2012 was also awarded the certification, as has Manchester United football club for their operations at Old Trafford.

BSI, the business standards company’s head of client propositions Toni Jones said: “Achieving certification is a credit to everyone at Ben Ainsle Racing and clearly demonstrates their commitment to managing their events in a manner that can control their social, economic and environmental impacts. The team should be proud of the hard work that has gone into implementing this standard and instilling good practice in everything that they do.”

Cameron’s welcome

The announcement was made during a visit to the construction site of the team’s new headquarters in Portsmouth by the Prime Minister David Cameron. The building is being built to meet the BREEM Excellent Standard and will be receive 100% of its power needs from solar panels.

Cameron said, “I’d like to congratulate Ben Ainslie Racing on achieving their ISO 20121 status. I think when you are working at the high end of something like sport, proving that you can do that at the same time as meeting the highest standard in terms of sustainability is a great achievement.”

In January, the BAR team received a £7.5m government grant to fund the team and its new base. Cameron called the project a great example of Britain’s long-term plan and a great showcase of how large buildings can be almost entirely sustainable.

Lucinda Dann

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