During The Superyacht Forum(TSF) in Amsterdam, six prominent industry figures took to the stage to officially launch Water Revolution Foundation, a new initiative that sets out plans for a more sustainable future. The organisation has been devised to encourage the market to think differently about its approach to sustainability and uncover what the industry could be doing to not only improve the impact of the yachting market on the environment, but also how the market is perceived.
The independent, science-driven, non-profit foundation is focused on changing perceptions and enhancing ways in which the superyacht market uses technology and information to improve the construction and operation of a superyacht. The Water Revolution Foundation is focused on discovering how yachts can take responsibility and emit less of a footprint.
As it stands, the founding board consists of six industry players: chairman, Henk de Vries III of Feadship; initiator and vice-chair, Vienna Eleuteri of EULabor; board member, Philippe Briand of Philippe BriandDesign; board member, Martin Redmayne of The Superyacht Group; secretary general, Robert van Tol and treasurer, Louis van Beurden. The board is, however, encouraging others to become part of the advisory board of the foundation, to help move the industry forward.
“This is a long-term project that uncovers how we as an industry share knowledge, opinion and ideas to grow our understanding of technology,” says Martin Redmayne. “There are too many individual initiatives and PR-driven projects and I feel we now need to work together as an industry to rebuild our image and change that perception again so that customers and new people talk about our market in a positive way.”
“I want to engage young people,” says Henk de Vries, CEO of Feadship and chairman of the Water Revolution Foundation. “The problem with our business is that the experts and the people that matter are getting older and if we look at the people that really matter in this business I am afraid that if we do not really change our act significantly, we will not engage them.”
He continues: “Let’s face it, we make a product that nobody needs and we use very valuable recourses to make it and a lot of man hours to produce it and we have an impact on the environment,” continues de Vries. “I do want to build a Tesla-style boat and I think we have the obligation to do so. If we manage to make that exciting enough, not only for potential customers, but for people who want to enter our business, then we have the future in our hands. If we don’t do that, we will be a bunch of old people who did something that was very nice in the 20th century which fizzled out in the 21st century.”
Through the collective sharing of technology and information, the foundation is presenting an opportunity to the market to create a superyacht industry that can promote some much-needed change, rather than turning into nothing and being viewed as a market filled with conspicuous consumerism.
“Here, we have players in the market that have got together with the understanding that there is an opportunity here,” says Robert van Tol. “Our industry is in a very unique position from an innovation point of view but also from an ownership point of view – we work with the most affluent people in the world who have the ability to drive sustainability.”
The Water Revolution Foundation emphasises that this a for-and-by-the-industry platform and asks the industry to get involved to help shape its future.