The Ocean Race, the toughest and longest test of a team in sport, has taken the top prize in the Sustainability category of the 2023 International Sports Awards, hosted by the International Sports Convention.
The Award recognises the efforts of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was created with Premier Partner, 11th Hour Racing, to put ocean protection at the heart of the round-the-world sailing competition.
The goals for The Ocean Race 2022-23 were highly-ambitious and the programme featured groundbreaking initiatives, including work to influence global ocean policy and the most comprehensive Science programme in sport. Hosting an event that was as sustainable as possible was imperative. Through a series of initiatives the Race reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared with the previous edition of the event, it was also powered entirely by renewable energy and the Race’s plastic footprint was measured in a first for any major sporting event. Inspiring the next generation is also a key element of Racing with Purpose, with Learning programmes that were brought to life in host cities through on-the-ground workshops.
Richard Brisius, Race Chairman at The Ocean Race, said: “Sport has the potential to unify, educate and inspire in ways that can make a meaningful difference. For The Ocean Race, we’ve used our platform and created new opportunities to reach as many audiences as possible, from fans and children to business leaders and heads of state, in order to accelerate action to protect the planet.
“We’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the International Sports Awards. It is thanks to the unprecedented spirit of collaboration with our fantastic network of sailing teams, host cities, partners, stakeholders and many other ocean advocates during this edition of the Race that our Racing with Purpose sustainability programme has been able to create such impact. And last, but definitely not least, it is thanks to the relentless dedication, expertise and hard work by The Ocean Race team.”
The International Sports Awards take place each year to celebrate ‘the finest sports work in the world’. The Sustainability Award trophy will be presented at The International Sports Convention 2023, which will be held March 20-21 2024.
Alessandra Ghezzi, 11th Hour Racing communications director said: “As The Ocean Race claims victory in the Sustainability category at the International Sports Awards 2023, the achievement reflects a shared commitment to environmental excellence, where the racecourse becomes a platform for sustainable innovation, and our ocean stands as the ultimate ambassador of health and vitality.”
Highlights from The Ocean Race 2022-23 (which took place January – July 2023, via nine cities on four continents) include:
- Slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared with the previous edition of the Race
- Driving support for the recognition of the ocean’s rights through high-level Summits that featured a range of ocean advocates including Prime Ministers, business leaders, athletes, sailors, indigenous people and ocean advocates, culminating in a special event during the UN General Assembly in September 2023
- Public backing of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, with 32,000 people signing the One Blue Voice petition
- The most ambitious Science programme in sport, in which the fleet collected over four million measurements as they raced round-the-world (including data on water temperature, CO2 and microplastic pollution), many from remote parts of the ocean where data is lacking
- Learning programmes that empower young people to care for the ocean, that have reached a total of over 225,000 children in more than 80 countries