Thousands of sailing enthusiasts flooded the coasts of Cadiz, Spain, over the weekend to watch the sixth race of this year’s Sailing Grand Prix series.
What, with his dramatic hair, won the Australian unit. But there is no time or opportunity to sit on its laurels, as a new category of competition, the Impact League, has also recently launched. Here, teams are separately rewarded for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Our main goal is to change our thinking and behaviour,” says the race director. “Faster progress makes us more competitive in change. Failure to act or small move means our destiny. Climate change is real. We need to wake up! Sport is part of it all.”
Impact League has a separate leaderboard that runs parallel to the overall points race, even affecting the final standings. Each team must also meet 10 sustainability criteria. These include, for example, the use of new technologies with clean energy sources or the omission of single-use plastics.
According to a member of the British team, “The Impact League is an important initiative that will impact the GP series. Because it focuses on sustainability, which is something for the league and everyone involved. Plus, it makes it part of the competition, which is a great initiative.”
“Sport has power. It reaches a lot of people, it affects a lot of people,” says an Australian sailor. “While we’re not as famous as football or Formula 1, if we start a trend, people will follow.”
Impact League winners will be announced in the San Francisco season finale in March. The winners, the NGOs supporting them and their partners will receive additional funding to accelerate the achievement of their sustainability goals.
A Euronews reporter said the race in Cadiz exceeded all expectations. Even for the most experienced sailors, this meant more than just fun. Because they are vying for a better future for change. Other sports will soon follow suit – but that’s yet to come.”
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