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Full list of speakers announced for first of The Ocean Race Summits in Genoa, Italy

by The Ocean Race 27 Aug 2019 14:58 BST 20 September 2019
City views - Genoa, Italy © merlofotografia.com

The Ocean Race Summits - an international series of events held by The Ocean Race - aims to bring together leaders from sport, business, politics and science to advance efforts to restore ocean health.

  • Ocean health summit to bring together Italian and international ocean experts and business leaders to showcase innovative solutions that advance efforts to tackle the plastic crisis affecting our seas
  • This first event in an international series is a must-attend for businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact and help improve ocean health
The full speaker list for the first of The Ocean Race Summits, scheduled to take place in Genoa, Italy on 20 September 2019, has now been released.

The summits - an integral part of The Ocean Race, the prestigious round-the-world sailing race dubbed 'sport's toughest test of a team' - build upon the series of award-winning summits during the last edition of the race. The conference in Genoa will examine the vital role business has to play in stemming the flow of plastic into our seas.

Taking place in the iconic Italian port city on 20th September, the international gathering will hear from political representatives from the EU, Genoa, national and international businesses, the sport of sailing and NGOs.

Staged in the historic Porto Antico area at the Centro Congressi, speakers at the interactive event include renowned sustainability expert Dr. Wayne Visser; Anders Jacobson, Co-founder & CEO of Blue; and Angela Wiebeck, Head of the UBS in Society Program Office. All are expected to offer their expert insights into how wide-ranging collaboration is vitally important to address the challenge of restoring ocean health.

Delegates will also hear Giulio Bonazzi, the Chairman and CEO of Aquafil; Moby Ahmed, CTO, Ambercycle; and Dr. Giulia Gregori, Strategic Planning & Corporate Communication Manager, Novamont, give practical examples of cutting edge practices to implement sustainability at the heart of business operations.

The Ocean Race Summits form a key element of the 'Racing with Purpose' Programme, in collaboration with Premier Partner 11th Hour Racing and supported by Official Partner Bluewater, embedding sustainability at the heart of the race.

"Genoa provides a perfect opening stage for The Ocean Race Summit series - convening business, sport, science, and government in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, where maritime trade history unfolded. These waters, which are still pivotal to Europe's history and economy, are now under severe stress and require urgent collaborative action to be protected and restored to a healthy state," said Alessandra Ghezzi, Communications Director, 11th Hour Racing. "I look forward to meeting the solution thinkers, innovators, visionaries, and the next generation of leaders that will gather in Genoa to catalyse this positive change."

The half-day conference will also explore the impacts of plastic pollution on the Mediterranean Sea and future trends business can adopt to move away from a reliance on plastic.

Olympic and offshore sailor Francesca Clapcich (ITA) and veteran of The Ocean Race Mark Towill (USA) will provide their views and share their first-hand experiences on the effect plastic pollution is having on our seas.

Italian adventurer Alex Bellini, who will provide the inspirational opening to the day, said: "It's the first time that Italy will host this event that is organised by The Ocean Race, the iconic race that, since 1973, has fascinated sailors from all over the world.

"Today the real challenge we have to face, the race we must win at all costs, is not to cross the finish line first but to save our seas from plastic pollution."

Dr Wayne Visser added: "Over the past few years, The Ocean Race Summits have been at the forefront of the fight to protect and clean-up our oceans. This includes tracking the evolving science on plastic pollution and the growing response by business, governments and civil society. If you want to stay on top of the latest trends on sustainability and the marine environment, The Ocean Race Summits are the place to be."

To complement The Ocean Race Summits, an Innovation Workshop concept has been introduced as part of the programme of events. These seminars challenge industry leaders and experts to find new ways of working on a range of issues that link their value chain with ocean pollution. The topics to be examined in Genoa are 'Sustainable Fashion & Textile' and 'Sustainable Boat Building'.

"Ocean plastic is a planet-wide crisis with microplastics now found in the food and water chains, which means we all need to get involved in saving both the planet and ourselves. At Bluewater we believe passionately in harnessing human ingenuity to develop the water purification tech that allows consumers and businesses to apply our here-and-now-solutions to access safe, clean water in a sustainable way in their homes, at work and in public places," said Anders Jacobson, co-founder and CEO of Blue, the impact led investment company that owns Bluewater.

The race's vital scientific programme to advance knowledge on ocean health is continuing over the summer as part of The Ocean Race European Tour, a series of summer pro-am sailing events around the continent. The tour boats will be stopping off at the Genoa Boat Show which takes place at the same time as the summit.

Five of The Ocean Race Summits will take place before the next edition of The Ocean Race sets off from Alicante, Spain, in autumn 2021, with at least five more scheduled during the race period.

Find out more, register to attend for free or sign up for the interactive livestream experience here.

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