There is a tendency at the moment for sailors looking for sponsorship to present the sport of sailing as environmentally friendly. While sailing can certainly boast a better carbon footprint than motorsport or powerboat racing, there are other sports that can do even better. Sailing teams then have to be very careful about their environmental claims. As people become more cynical, announcements and initiatives are not enough, there needs to be concrete evidence that action is being taken to back up the PR.
Sir Keith Mills, who heads up TEAMORIGIN understands that for his ‘Race for Change’ to mean anything, it needs to be more than the Carbon Trust’s logo on the side of the boat. The team has appointed Dr Susie Tomson as Environmental Manager – an innovative move for a professional sports team to recruit a full time team member in such a role.
Susie Tomson joins from the Royal Yachting Association where she established their environmental programme, the Green Blue, and worked for the last 7 years as their Environmental Advisor. She brings over 15 years of experience in various aspects of natural resource management much of this balancing the interface between recreation and the environment. In her role as Environmental Manager for TEAMORIGIN she will work closely with the Carbon Trust, the team’s environmental partner, to measure, manage and reduce the team’s carbon footprint. The team plans that the Race for Change ethos becomes a strategic principle embedded into their day to day operations – guiding business decisions as well as team behaviour.
Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal, commented
“We have been progressing well in our assessment and planning stages with the Carbon Trust and have now reached the stage where we are ready to dedicate a full time resource within our organisation to move into the action stage. Susie’s role will involve the creation and implementation of the necessary policies, processes, actions and monitoring filters for TEAMORIGIN.”
Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, added:
“By appointing a full time environmental manager, TEAMORIGIN has demonstrated its commitment to the Race for Change concept and the carbon reduction journey. We look forward to working closely with Susie and the rest of the team over the coming months to show that sport has an important part to play in fighting climate change.”
The next stage for the team involves the completion and publication of the Carbon Policy for the team setting out the key stages of the plan, with associated timelines and projected targets for reduction of carbon emissions as well as improved efficiencies for the team. The carbon footprint and energy spend are already being monitored with a view to demonstrating real reductions as the team ramps up its activities.
Susie, together with the Carbon Trust, will also start working more closely with the team’s partners and suppliers – helping to guide and support them in their commitment to this vital initiative and showcasing efficiencies in their own businesses.
Susie commented on her new role,
“It is a real sign of progress and commitment to the Race for Change strategy for a sports team to engage such a role and as such adds much credibility to their plans. I believe I am one of the few Environmental Managers working for a professional sports team and I am really excited about the challenge. I think we have a really interesting story to share with the outside world about the journey ahead of us. To me this is all about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of TEAMORIGIN, hopefully helping to reduce costs and waste as well as carbon emissions and contributing to our goal of winning the America’s Cup.”