Sailing joins thousands around the world in pledging to be net zero by 2050, aligning sport with the goals of the Paris Agreement and accelerating efforts to address climate change.
Continuing its commitment to taking a leading role in sustainability and reducing emissions in sport, World Sailing has signed up to ‘Race To Zero’, the global campaign to cut emissions to zero run by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
World Sailing was one of the founders of the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Framework and has been diligently working towards climate targets from its Sustainability Agenda 2030. Working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), over 280 sports federations including FIFA, the IBU, Formula E and the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 have committed to reporting on their climate impact and a strategy to reduce emissions following new targets set by the UN’s Sports for Climate Action framework.
Quanhai Li, World Sailing President, said, “World Sailing is proud to stand with the United Nations, the IOC, our partners and organisations around the world in taking decisive action on climate change. We have been making positive progress towards clear targets in all aspects of the sport with our own sustainability targets and internal studies to determine our carbon footprint and where we can improve. Support for this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive and it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make a difference. The effects of climate change cannot be ignored but if we act now and act together through bold collective action, we can mitigate the impact and help to restore the balance between people and the planet.”
David Graham, World Sailing Chief Executive Officer, said, “The future of sailing is delicately tied to climate change. Rising sea levels, higher temperatures and more extreme weather puts sailors at greater risk, reduces participation time and impacts grassroots infrastructure. As a responsible federation we must do all we can do reduce the effects of climate change for the long-term survival of our sport, sailors and communities around the world. We have already committed to coordinating strategic action in the sport by ensuring our sponsors, events and equipment all follows the targets set by the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030. This is an important campaign for the future of our planet and we are proud to sign the pledge.”
The World Sailing Executive Office has already taken steps to become carbon neutral by 2022, halving emissions across the sport by 2030 and aiming to achieve net zero by 2040 in all operations.
So far, around 70% of the world’s economy has pledged to reach net zero emissions. More than 80 countries have updated their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Race To Zero is the largest ever alliance committed to hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2050, already representing a coalition of 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors and 622 Higher Education Institutions. By the time COP26 concludes, the aim is that signatories for Race To Zero will account for 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Efforts to make sailing carbon-positive are already well established. World Sailing partnered with 11th Hour Racing in 2018 to recognise success in maritime sustainability through sponsorship of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award which has attracted more than 100 entries and 10,000 votes each year. 11th Hour Racing are a founding partner of the ‘Racing with Purpose’ programme created by The Ocean Race which contributes to scientific understanding of ocean health by using racing boats to collect data on sea surface temperature and ocean acidification.
Hempel, World Sailing’s official coatings partner and sponsor of the Hempel Sailing World Championships, joining the more than 1,000 international companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
SAP, World Sailing’s long-time analytics partner, has launched its Chasing Zero Emissions programme to assist businesses minimise greenhouse gas footprint with embedded analytics.
In 2020, SailGP launched ‘Race for the Future’, the first climate-positive sports and entertainment property, which aims to reduce the league’s carbon footprint, champion inclusivity and advocate for clean energy. SailGP tracks and verifies carbon emissions in partnership with One Carbon World and offsets emissions by contributing to pioneering Blue Carbon Projects such as the goal to plant a billion trees and mitigating 500 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, delivered in partnership with the Worldview International Foundation.
For more information on the new targets for Sports for Climate Action please visit the UNFCCC website.
To read the IOC statement, please visit Olympics.com