Standards of yacht luxury, performance and capability are redefined year on year, with design innovation and manufacturing quality reflected in a growing fleet of exciting yachts and super-yachts. Advances in engine and exhaust systems have brought improved emissions performance and fuel efficiency. However, although some solutions may be retro-fitted, many of these advances are not available to existing vessels.
Much of the attention directed towards engine emissions control aims to minimise local pollutants such as sulphur oxides and particulates; rightly so since nobody likes to see noxious, sooty exhaust fumes! Yet these advances do not address the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is produced as fuel is burnt in engines and generators – indeed some exhaust cleaning systems slightly increase CO2 emissions. Today, the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that you emit into the atmosphere, your “carbon footprint”, has become a conspicuous part of your overall environmental performance.
Good seamanship and good economics underline the need to operate a yacht efficiently and measures that lower fuel consumption can serve to reduce your carbon emissions at source. But ultimately, maximising the potential of a yacht and experiencing the full benefits of her range and performance will involve a corresponding quantity of fuel. Restriction on the use of the yacht would detract from the enjoyment of ownership or charter.
Properly implemented, Carbon Offsetting represents a pro-active response to your yacht’s CO2e (CO2 equivalent) emissions and is both straightforward and pragmatic. The principle is to ensure that for each tonne of CO2 emitted by your yacht's engines, a tonne of CO2e emissions have been saved elsewhere, through independently approved renewable power, methane recovery, and other projects.
By Offsetting, you demonstrate leadership in addressing the environmental impact of your lifestyle. Indeed, Offsetting may be seen as an essential stance to take for many yacht owners or guests who have high public prominence, or whose businesses have a policy of minimising greenhouse gas emissions. These days, the public relations benefits are very real.
In summary, Carbon Offsetting provides a balance to the emissions that inevitably arise when you enjoy your yacht. It is a voluntary action demonstrating leadership in respect of your overall environmental performance, and it can only help to improve relations with those who share your concerns, including ports, local communities and the media. Offsetting the fuel used by your yacht, tenders, and even your helicopter, may complement any other initiatives that you already take towards a better environment for the future.