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SailGP’s Impact League will be the first step towards tackling climate change and rising sea levels, according to Team Japan’s Nathan Outteridge and Team France’s Theo Laudren.
The Impact League launched in Plymouth this week though started at the beginning of the 2021 season, ranking all eight teams on their environmental actions.
And Laudren, operation manager of the French crew, said: “We have a competition running around sustainability and I think it’s a really good opportunity to define what performance means.
“We've always been focusing on performing on the water and now we've got a chance to actually be performing in all areas of our operations.”
Former Olympic champion Outteridge added: “I think that it's a really cool opportunity for all of us to think about our impact on the world.
“I'm only 35 but I'm very aware that things have changed over the last 30 years and it's all because of humans. If there's things that we can do to lower our impact or move forward in a positive way, it;s really important and the Impact League is encouraging us to do that.”
Team Japan currently sit last in the Impact League rankings, something that Outteridge is hoping to change quickly.
He said: “As Ben Ainslie said, no one wants to come last in the Impact League because it means that you're not caring about the world. Right now, our team is lagging at the bottom and we have more things to do.
“The best thing I think is to look at the other teams, get ideas from them, and make sure that we're at least matching the standards around and come up with our own creative ideas as well.”
France sit just two spots above Japan in sixth position, though Laudren is embracing the challenge of competing against other teams.
“We understand that in sport you might have a winner and you might have losers as well, but for the environment we all need to be winning,” he commented.
“What is very important is that we all pull together as a group within the French team but also with all the other teams within Sail GP. There is a lot of collaboration, we get inspiration from what the others are doing.”
The Impact League is the first league of its kind, and both men hope other sports follow in sailing’s lead.
Laudren said: “If we have the possibility to minimise climate change and try to drive change within sailing, and in other sports that get inspiration from Sail GP, this would be a massive achievement.”
“As a sailing event, we're obviously aware of sea levels rising and it causes problems because we're always in coastal towns. 800 million people are going to be affected by this in years to come so we need to do something about that,” commented Outteridge.
“We believe it's important, and we believe we can make a difference but it's up to other sporting events to also realise that there's something they can do as well.”
The Impact League is a new initiative designed to make sustainability action essential to the fabric of sport. To find out more about the Impact League visit SailGP.com/ImpactLeague