Greenest Team of the Year

Greenest Team of the Year – Team Phoenix are Naturals at Sustainability.
pic by Nico Martinez

At the end of their debut season with the 52 Super Series, Hasso and Tina Plattner’s crew on ‘Phoenix’ were crowned “Greenest Team of the Year” at the final prize-giving ceremony held in Valencia on Saturday. Determined, consistent and with a high attention to detail, they displayed all the hallmarks of any 52 Super Series champion to scoop the annual sustainability award. Their prize, a water hydration station donated by 52 Super Series Sustainability Partner, Bluewater, will be installed in Puerto Portals to help leave a positive legacy on the popular Balearic Island.

The 52 Super Series is well known for its strong focus on high performance – stripped-down racing boats, highly-engineered technology, and ultra-efficient systems – as well as its robust sustainability strategy and initiatives backed by the partnership with 11th Hour Racing. Finishing in seventh place in their first ever season with the world’s leading monohull racing circuit, ‘Phoenix’ has displayed these qualities not only in their racing, but also in their sustainability initiatives.

The team put their entire operation under the microscope, from how they refill their water bottles throughout the day, to how they wrap their sandwiches.

Their days start like most others’ – with an energy-jolting shot of espresso; but rather than using regular coffee capsules, the team invested in a small barista machine, gave all crew members their own mug, and opted for sugar cubes over paper sachets, all to help reduce unnecessary waste.

They prefer reusable food containers to cling-film and food packaging. They meticulously compost and recycle instead of throwing everything into the general trash bins. They use stainless steel water bottles because they last longer than aluminium ones. They buy in bulk instead of individually. They coordinate group flights instead of booking several individual ones, allowing for carpooling to and from the airport. And they use eco-friendly Ecoworks Marine cleaning products instead of other off-the-shelf chemically-based products that harm the marine life. The list goes on.

As Sustainability Officer for the 52 Super Series, it was Christoph Kröger’s responsibility to select this year’s winners. On ‘Phoenix’ he says: “It’s really great to see that all of the teams are working hard on their own programmes, and we’re seeing some really great results across the fleet. But this year, ‘Phoenix’ have really opened up their stride. I’ve been incredibly impressed by their forthcoming nature, and by how quickly they have influenced change up and down the ladder of leadership.”

Speaking shortly after receiving the award, the ‘Phoenix’ Owner-Driver, Tina Plattner said: “We are very honoured to be awarded the greenest team award. The entire team has been putting thought and effort into creating awareness around sustainability and to decrease our own environmental footprint from event to event. I’m very proud that everybody in the team has contributed their bit towards this achievement, and we’ll be trying even harder next year to reduce our environmental impact. We hope lots of other teams all around the world will join us in this quest.”
Not a day goes by without seeing a member of the ‘Phoenix’ team at their usual hangout spot – the Bluewater hydration station, filling up their bottles and giant water coolers with purified drinking water for the long day of racing ahead. Perhaps it’s only fitting that as a reward for their efforts, they will get to install a unit in Puerto Portals, on the Balearic Island of Mallorca. The Balearics are still heavily reliant on single-use plastic from shop-bought water, so the new alternative will be a welcome step in the right direction.

On the wider 52 Super Series sustainability programme, Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing Co-founder and Strategic Director, says: “We are proud of the 52 Super Series efforts and achievements throughout the 2018 season, and we wish to congratulate all at team ‘Phoenix’ for their leadership and vision. It is wonderful to see how this partnership with 11th Hour Racing, now at its fourth season, has been embraced by individuals, teams, event organisers, venues, supporters and volunteers, and how this collaborative effort has led to a tangible legacy focused on restoring ocean health. We also wish to thank Bluewater for being part of this journey and for their leadership in providing sustainable and accessible solutions to communities worldwide.”

Anders Jacobson, Bluewater President and Chief Strategy Officer, adds: “Joining forces with the 52 Super Series and 11th Hour Racing demonstrates how sustainable technology and solutions already exist and can be harnessed where there is a common will and commitment.”

Whilst sustainability is a hot topic, it’s a slow burner; a marathon, not a sprint, and a journey that still yields many unanswered questions. What is clear though is that the initiative taken by the entire ‘Phoenix’ team is a great example to follow for any sports team, and they have perfectly demonstrated how support from leadership can have tremendous trickle-down effects on their collective goals.