Yachting for Purpose: Taking Responsibility For Environmental Solutions

8 October 2021

We often see headlines about hybrid or hydrogen powered superyachts, but there are many other ways in which the superyacht industry can give back to the community and planet. Ocean Alliance’s Charter Experience Manager, Laurie Foulon, discusses the Australian company’s Yachting for Purpose initiatives.

Based at Sydney’s Jones Bay Wharf, Ocean Alliance is a full-service yachting company that covers all aspects of superyacht ownership and experience. Last year, Ocean Alliance’s Central Agency yacht, Beluga, participated in the Great Reef Census – a citizen-led scientific study of the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.

The Great Reef Census is one initiative under the ‘Yachting for Purpose’ umbrella through which Ocean Alliance is harnessing its network to contribute towards a sustainable future. Laurie tells us more…

Social Responsibility is a core value of Ocean Alliance, how do you implement this on both a company and an individual level?

LF: I am glad that the message is coming across, and that this is being noticed! We are motivated by a love of the sea resulting in a desire to ensure its continued health so that we may allow a broader audience to experience, and fall in love with this incredible element.

We believe we have a role as global citizens to contribute to a sustainable future and cannot, in good conscience, promote yachting without protecting the asset at the core of this lifestyle.

At an individual level, social responsibility means having a conscience of our footprint on an everyday basis: from having reusable keepcups for our morning coffee, to refusing plastic bags and straws. This translates at a company level into our ability to open up conversations with crew on the superyachts we manage, to listen to initiatives that are being implemented on board, and to developing a new brand of Ocean Alliance’s ethical principle: Yachting for Purpose.

How would you define the concept of Yachting for Purpose?

“Our actions demonstrate that our footprint is as important as our profit.” As one of our core company values, Yachting for Purpose aims to spread awareness that superyachts are incredible platforms to monitor, maintain and research oceans all over the Blue Planet. Alliance creates strength, and by partnering with trustworthy organisations we endorse the research and impactful work of scientists, whilst educating our team and spreading important messages of conservation to our rich network.

What are some of Ocean Alliances ‘Yachting for Purpose’ initiatives?

Our first initiative was a partnership around plastic pollution, in 2017 with Take 3 for the Sea – a Sydney based organisation that has expanded and is making waves worldwide (pun intended!). We continue to support Take 3, most recently through the CEO Cleanup.

In 2018, we developed a partnership with “Earth Hour Andy”, Mr Ridley who founded the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef: one of the largest citizen-science projects of its kind.

Lately, we equipped some of the yachts in our managed fleet with SARAH Nets from the International Seakeepers Society: empowering yachts and crews to sample the waters they cruise in and monitor the quality of the ocean by sending their collected samples back to the University of Florida to be analysed.

In what ways can owners and charterers contribute towards sustainability efforts?

We have observed this, and continue to encourage our Charter Clients, Yacht Owners & Crew to actively support the environments and communities which they visit. Led by our passion for the ocean, this entire ecosystem and network has the power to achieve significant positive change.

There are many angles to the theme of sustainability – itself being actually now outdated, to be replaced with Regeneration where we can not only neutralise our impact, but support solutions to help the Oceans thrive again.

The stories are many: I believe that by flicking the switch on, having a willingness to help, communicate and be open to education, with a deep respect and understanding of the roles of our oceans, we can have the greatest and most beautiful resonance in our industry.

What makes the Great Reef Census a unique opportunity?

It is one of the largest citizen-science projects of its kind, for our oceans! Think of a giant network of humans gathering to survey, and draw a map of, the world’s largest living organism: something that has never been done before.

The team behind the concept is an incredible array of smart minds, expert scientists, epic communicators, but also technology and data nerds! The Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef partnered with DELL Technologies and achieved fantastic innovation.

We are so excited to have BELUGA involved, pioneering the path for superyachts to join: whether that is purely for the crew on a transit, when having guests on board for a few days, or owners with them over long periods of time.

How does the superyacht community use its position to make a difference and what do you think it can do better?

To keep a long essay short, I believe that the industry has a responsibility and opportunity to communicate better on genuine solutions.

The Superyacht Industry is a cluster of the smartest, most connected minds on the planet, innovative and creative thinkers. The think tank that we can all tap into just needs a little activation to bring out the best from everyone involved in a common objective.

This can be a very beautiful moment and I believe the opportunities are grandiose, when measured well, executed with truth, and communicated in a public-friendly manner.

Superyachts are easily targeted by the public eye… this is the time to turn the story around!

Through ‘Yachting for Purpose’, Ocean Alliance is demonstrating that no matter where you stand in the industry, it is possible to take responsibility and make a difference to protect our oceans. For those looking forward to their next unique superyacht experience, contact Laurie Foulon on +61 (0) 424 599 889 or email laurie@oceanalliance.com.au.

Click here to read more about Ocean Alliance’s yachting for purpose initiatives.

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