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RS Sailing joint winners of The Green Blue Environmental Award at 2019 Southampton Boat Show

by Lynn Billowes 22 Sep 11:00 BST
RS Sailing joint winners of The Green Blue Environmental Award at the 2019 Southampton International Boat Show © RS Sailing

RS Sailing are proud to be jointly awarded British Marine's Environmental Award for their sustainability efforts alongside Spirit Yachts at the Southampton International Boat Show 2019. This British Marine award recognises exhibitors who have embraced environmentally responsible behaviour and sustainable work practices at the Boat Show.

The Green Blue Environmental Award is a new addition to the show but sustainability has been a long-term commitment for RS Sailing. They have been implementing a Sustainability Programme for a number of years, analysing, improving and publicising recyclable aspects of their boats, recyclable packaging, clean energy sources, almost paperless offices, boat show functions, events, their operations and waste recycling.

With this in mind, the RS team sat down for their initial Southampton Boat Show planning meeting with a focus on sustainability. From greener transport, reusing equipment for their stand, fuelling the team with food and drinks not wrapped single use plastic, curbing nonessential paper and ditching giveaways, they made a conscientious effort to really limit the environmental impact. Riki Hooker, RS Sailing Director accepted the award at the ceremony last night and shared a simple message with the crowd "All it takes is a few small changes, some extra effort and planning and you can really quickly make a considerable difference. It's a challenge that the team and I have enjoyed and embraced, everyone should give it a go."

Inspired by the work of the small volunteer charity Sea-Changers who fundraise to provide grants for projects that have a positive impact on the marine environment, RS Sailing have been taking on new ideas from the experienced team at Sea-Changers to further their efforts. At event level, the RS Aero Class Association have partnered with the RYA GreenBlue to create a sustainability charter to drive real change in the impact of their regattas across clubs.

The RS Sailing team have worked hard at Southampton International Boat Show to significantly reduce their environmental impact. For optimal sustainability, much equipment and material for events and exhibitions are re-used. The team have made a conscious effort to reduce the use of paper for marketing and PR purposes by cutting down on the information given to customers on paper. RS have reduced brochures down to just one responsibly sourced double-sided postcard for each boat in their range to signpost the customer to more detailed information online. George Purchon, RS Sailing UK Sales commented, "It's been a big culture change for the team to move away from big glossy brochures and giveaways to just small postcards but our customers have been really supportive when we explain why we have made the change. It ultimately ends up in the bin so it's great to know that even these small changes make a difference."

Outside of the show environment, sustainability is a key mission throughout the build and supply process for RS. As a pioneering business on the MarineShift360 scheme, the entire brand lifecycle is currently being evaluated to make improvements to the efficiency and sustainability of every aspect of production and delivery in an attempt to create improvements at every level. Changes already implemented include the use of recycled materials in the build process, use of bio resins and packaging in plant derived content materials prior to delivery. Alex Newton-Southon, CEO Technical of RS Sailing commented "We're honoured to receive this award. As market leaders, we view this as an ongoing programme, the job will never be done. We aim to continually improve and to set the sustainability standard within our part of the sailing industry which we hope others will follow".

The message from RS is quite clear, they're not perfect, but they're trying, and they are passionate about encouraging sailors and the wider industry to help protect planet earth for future generations of sailors!

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