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New guidelines help crew to make sustainable changes on board

The Water Revolution Foundation recently published the Environmental Crew Guidelines. Pantaenius  asked author Danella Hopkins how they work. 

Danella, you created the Environmental Crew Guidelines (ECG), published in February by the Water Revolution Foundation (WRF). What do you want to achieve with these guidelines?

Danella Hopkins: You know that phrase, ‘the worst thing is thinking that someone else will save it?’ It is exactly this. With these guidelines, I want all crew to acknowledge this shared responsibility but also to have the help and support to make sustainable changes onboard. My vision is for the guidelines to stand as a go-to resource for crew, introducing new standards of practices onboard. Most importantly, I wanted to unite the industry on something other than profit, so the guidelines are completely free and accessible for all crew to download. It is just the beginning; I want everyone to share them and contribute so that there are more and more positive changes being made onboard. We can all make a difference. 

You’ve been working in different crew positions for more than a decade. Do you remember a particular event from your active time that made you more environmentally aware?

Danella Hopkins: It wasn’t a big moment that stopped me in my tracks and made me realise that I could change things; it was really the everyday tasks we did on the yacht that had me raising an eyebrow and questioning if there were better ways. For starters, the amount of waste packaging from all the provisions alone is terrifying. Today, many yachts are making progress on reducing this, but there is still a long way to go.

What do you think can be the role of the crew in changing that?

Danella Hopkins: The crew must start asking questions and ensuring they understand their suppliers. The more requests for sustainable supplies these companies have from crew, the more changes they will have to make. People are increasingly curious about the backstory and values of a company, wanting to know what they stand for and how they are considering environmental impact. So, if we highlight those companies that do make a difference, supply sustainable products, reduce waste, and give back to the ocean, then more crew will likely choose them.

What kind of advice can the crew find in the Guidelines?

Danella Hopkins: Firstly, I have tried to make it as easy as possible to follow. I have covered every topic related to different crew roles and daily actions. As an example, for the deck crew, there is information to ensure the longevity of teak – an extremely scarce resource – and for the interior crew, there is loads of information on making more sustainable purchases. The guidelines also suggest that each crew designate an environmental ambassador who can help connect the different departments and oversee the implementation of the guidelines. Again, here is this element of shared responsibility that will hopefully shine through!

For the Guidelines to be successful, you probably need to distribute them very widely. What are the ideas so far?

Danella Hopkins: It is so important to have support coming from the top to spread the guidelines far and wide, so that’s why, for the first launch, I prioritised partnering with management companies. They work with a huge number of yachts and can help influence onboard operations. As the guidelines continue to be shared, it is important they get more support from as many different companies, ambassadors, and influencers as possible. It is all about getting the message out there and keeping the momentum going!

The Guidelines have been published explicitly as a first version. What’s the idea behind that?

Danella Hopkins: Sustainability onboard is a massive topic and can be overwhelming; there are so many moving parts, so this document is a starting point for the crew. We are open to all feedback and hope to integrate this into the second version. So far, the general feedback is that the crew would like an additional section on new build and refit, so getting shipyards involved is vital. The Water Revolution Foundation would also like to add more on Important Marine Mammal Areas, which will link into the bridge operation sections. Going back to making it easy, we are also looking at creating some visual tools that crew can put around the yacht, which will supplement the guidelines.

How can crews contribute to future ESG?

Danella Hopkins: So far, the feedback we have had has been great, and I am optimistic that we will get more. We want to continue to encourage all crew members to contribute. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so the crew need to use the tool and see how it works for them and how we can add to it in the future. We hope the industry takes it seriously so more positive changes happen throughout.

Thank you very much, Danella.

Danella Hopkins

Danella Hopkins has over 15 years of experience in the superyacht industry. Her roles as a chief stewardess and interior consultant have spanned across various yachts, ranging in size from 60 to over 150 meters.

Download the Environmental Crew Guidelines  from the website of the Water Revolution Foundation.

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