34th America’s Cup Earns Highest Level Clean Regattas Certification - Sailors for the Sea

34th America’s Cup Earns Highest Level Clean Regattas Certification

Press Release

The 34th America’s Cup earns a Platinum Level Clean Regattas certification, and helps create a more stringent evaluation system for large events where metrics are key.

Sailors for the Sea Awards the 34th America’s Cup its Highest Level Clean Regattas Certification

Partnership leads to creation of Platinum Level certification and establishment of metrics-based comprehensive evaluation system

Newport, Rhode Island – October 22, 2013 – Sailors for the Sea, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, is proud to announce that the 34th America’s Cup earned a Sailors for the Sea Platinum Level Clean Regattas certification, the highest level possible.

Since July 2011, Sailors for the Sea, the Official Clean Regattas Partner to the 34th America’s Cup, has worked closely with the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) to expand and enhance its Clean Regattas program. Most notably adding a Platinum Level certification and creating a more stringent, comprehensive evaluation system that covers large events and ties evaluation directly back to metrics.

According to David Rockefeller, Jr., chairman and co-founder, Sailors for the Sea, “The collaborative efforts between Sailors for the Sea and ACEA resulted in an expanded Clean Regattas program that will benefit the ocean that boaters rely on, and established a model framework within which other world-class sporting events can strive to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainability.”

In support of ACEA’s vision and plan of delivering a model sustainable sporting event, ACEA and Sailors for the Sea established an 81-point best management practices checklist that was implemented by ACEA and America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM). A new independent review panel then used the checklist to evaluate the event’s water and shore-based activities for compliance. The review panel, consisting of individuals with local sailing and environmental expertise, reviewed the metrics and other results of the summer activities, which included the Louis Vuitton Cup and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, to determine the final certification level. The Clean Regattas Platinum Level certificate was awarded to the ACEA this week.

Sustainability Best Management Practices and Metrics

ACEA and ACRM, in cooperation with their partners, delivered an event that followed standards for sustainable event planning and delivery, setting a new standard for future America’s Cup events and best practice examples for major sporting events in general.

“I am personally proud of the efforts and commitments by all individuals involved in the America’s Cup events – from teams to organizers, spectators and volunteers to vendors – to embrace the Clean Regattas certification commitment,” said Annie Brett, program director, Sailors for the Sea. “For more than two years, we worked to build on the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas standard to achieve ever increasing levels of Clean Regattas certification and to create a more stringent set of criteria customized to the high standards of sustainability established by ACEA.”

In March 2012, ACEA published the 34th America’s Cup Sustainability Plan that outlined the organization’s approach to delivering sustainable event activities in San Francisco. ACEA pledged to understand the event’s impacts, reduce potentially negative impacts as much as possible, and maximize legacy benefits. Event performance and progress were tracked and monitored in order to inform stakeholders and the public about activities and achievements, and provide transparent reporting on event activities in San Francisco.

A key component to the ACEA’s sustainability efforts was the incorporation of the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas Best Management Practices for the 34th America’s Cup, which consisted of 14 best practices categories that comprised 81 metric based goals. The categories were: 

  • Good waste management practices
  • Compostable silverware
  • Sustainable food
  • Water bottle reduction
  • Paper and signage
  • Oil spill prevention
  • No discharge
  • Runoff reduction
  • Non-toxic products
  • Boat fuel
  • Sustainable energy sources
  • Team engagement
  • Outreach
  • Bonus

ACEA and ACRM’s commitment to Clean Regattas practices resulted in environmentally focused activities and actions throughout all the America’s Cup World Series events and 34th America’s Cup. Highlights of best management practices adopted during the America’s Cup and related metrics include:

  • Good waste management practices: Recycled or composted over 85 percent of all event waste
  • Water bottle reduction: The largest sporting event in the world to eliminate single-use plastic bottles. Free water stations at the America’s Cup venues poured 38,372 liters of water, equivalent to avoiding 76,744 500mL single-use plastic bottles from entering the waste stream
  • Oil spill Prevention: Oil spill kits were placed on every boat and stringent boat refueling practices were followed; education was provided to boat drivers about fuel saving driving techniques and fuel-efficient race management boats were procured that reduced air emissions and fuel usage
  • Runoff reduction: ACRM used water only wash downs of race management boats and microfiber cleaning mitts to eliminate the use of soap
  • Outreach: Over 800 volunteers removed approximately 18,000 lbs. of trash from the shores of San Francisco Bay at 24 beach cleanups. The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project collected 7,000 public pledges to protect the marine environment.

Other sustainability highlights include:

  • Sustainable energy sources: Solar-powered security lights were used at event venues; a blend of 20 percent bio-diesel was used in event generators, shore power at America’s Cup Park was sourced from hydroelectric energy
  • Sustainable seafood: Over 72 percent of seafood served came from the “Best Choice” category from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® List. 100 percent of seafood served was rated either ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Choice.’
  • Recycling: Over nine tons of plastic film was recycled, a product not normally recycled in San Francisco 
  • Paper and signage: Results and schedules were primarily displayed on electronic signage throughout the venue. Venue signage included the use of eco-board, and reuse of signs from 2012 events; EkoFlex used for banners displayed throughout the city
  • Special training for boat drivers: along with driving in a fuel-efficient manner, ACRM was professionally trained to spot and avoid marine mammals 

“Each of the 34th America’s Cup events provided us with an opportunity to minimize any negative impacts, maximize positive legacy benefits, and engage with the public to deliver a positive sustainability message and raise environmental awareness,” said Jill Savery, head of sustainability for ACEA. “The efforts of everyone involved in delivering event activities have raised the bar for future America’s Cup events, and has left a local legacy for the San Francisco community.”

A final 77-page report about the ACEA’s nearly three-year sustainability journey, and documentation of how ACEA and ACRM managed the key challenges associated with optimizing the environmental, economic, and social impacts of event activities has been published and is available at www.americascup.com. The Sustainability Report follows the Global Reporting Initiative’s Event Organizer Sector Supplement, and international standard for sustainable event reporting. 

Growing and Strengthening Clean Regattas Certification Achievement

Starting with a bronze level certification in Cascais, Portugal, race organizers worked hard throughout the entire America’s Cup World Series (ACWS), which consisted of nine events in international venues, to strengthen their sustainability activities. The ACWS earned one bronze, five silver, one gold, and two platinum Clean Regattas Certifications.

Efforts included the use of compostable cups, and complete elimination of single-use plastic water bottles, as well as shore-based clean ups and removal of invasive plant species, and numerous educational events geared toward the general public and designed to draw attention to the fragility of local waters and the ocean.

About the America’s Cup

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport, dating to 1851, when the schooner America, for which the trophy is named, beat the best of the British fleet in a race around the Isle of Wight. The trophy won on that day was donated in trust through a Deed of Gift and has since become an iconic symbols of achievement.

The America’s Cup is currently held by the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco. On September 25, 2013, its team, ORACLE TEAM USA, completed the biggest comeback in sports to retain the trophy it had first won in 2010.

Details and rules for the 35th America’s Cup will be issued in 2014.

About Sailors for the Sea

Founded in 2004, Sailors for the Sea is a nonprofit organization that educates and engages the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to support the organization, visit www.sailorsforthesea.org.