In the Public Awareness category of Boat International’s The Ocean Awards, efforts to ‘turn the tide on plastic’ were recognised for doing ‘the most to advance public understanding of the threats to ocean health’.
In partnership with UN Environment’s 'CleanSeas' campaign, the initiative reached and empowered millions of people globally at stopover race villages, in schools, online and through the media.
Over 20,000 people signed the CleanSeas plastic pledge and in excess of 400,000 people visited the stopover sustainability exhibition. In addition, nearly 25,000 online articles promoted the vital message on ocean health reaching a global audience of 820,000,000.
Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Director of The Ocean Race, said: “With drive and determination we set out to use our position at the pinnacle of world sailing to take the message on ocean health and how we are all part of the solution, far beyond the boundaries of the race.
“We mobilised members of the public, businesses and even governments to make commitments to fight the ocean plastic crisis and we are proud of the legacy we have created.
“That battle certainly hasn’t been won and under our ‘Racing with Purpose’ programme, with an alliance of like-minded organisations, we will continue to use our platform to drive systemic change.”
A key group of sustainability partners, 11th Hour Racing, the Mirpuri Foundation and other main partners, Volvo, AkzoNobel, Ocean Family Foundation, Stena Recycling and Bluewater, were key to the success of the programme, with the Turn the Tide on Plastic race boat also supported by Sky Ocean Rescue.
Rob MacMillan, Co-Founder of 11th Hour Racing, added: “We are excited to celebrate this prestigious award for The Ocean Race's Sustainability Programme — the fifth this season. The efforts built by the Race and its partners showcase how sport can influence people’s minds and actions in advancing solutions to the crisis in our ocean, and we are proud to lead this work in the next edition.”
The Ocean Race was up against stiff competition from Greenpeace's The programme encouraged participation by children through a multi-lingual education programme; promoted behaviour change and engaged and educated business and governments on the issue showcasing innovative solutions and best practice through a series of Ocean Summits.
The round the world sailing event recently launched a new sustainability programme, ‘Racing with Purpose’, in collaboration with Premier Partner 11th Hour Racing, to continue its mission to accelerate the restoration of ocean health.
As part of this, The Ocean Race is also developing a series of 11 Ocean Race Summits and Innovation Workshops, starting in Europe in September 2019 and an updated schools learning programme has been launched as part of an ambitious future programme for the race which will start in Alicante in autumn 2021.
The sustainability programme has already come out on top in the ‘Sports CSR Campaign of the Year’ category at the International Sports Awards, the ‘Best Corporate Campaign or Initiative in Sport for Good’ category at the Beyond Sport Awards, The Ocean Tribute Awards at boot Düsseldorf International Boat Show and most recently the prestigious Social and Sustainable Development Award at the BT Sport Industry Awards.