Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is proud to join the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Sports for Climate Action Framework.

The Portuguese team, which recently became the first ever winner of The Ocean Race Europe, joins a global coalition of hundreds of sports events, teams and organisations from all over the world who are all taking action on climate change.

The Sports for Climate Action initiative calls on sporting organizations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality for a safer planet. The initiative strives to promote greater environmental responsibility, reduce the overall climate impact from sports, educate for climate action, promote sustainable and responsible consumption and advocate for climate action.

Sustainability is fundamental to The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team. Since its inception, the team has worked to become one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainability in the sailing world. In addition to its world-class sustainability and science programmes, the team also seeks to minimise environmental impact by reducing emissions in its operations and supply chain, and by extending the lifecycle of products that are used.

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It gives me such motivation to see the scale of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action initiative and the energy with which its core principles are being adopted around the world. This is a race we can—and must—win.

Among the initiatives implemented during The Ocean Race Europe by the team and its founders, the Mirpuri Foundation, are:

Single-use plastic free boat and accommodation

All single-used plastic was removed from the team’s “Racing For The Planet” VO65 boat. During the build-up to the race, the team made a thorough inventory onboard and worked to replace plastic-free, sustainable alternatives to items that would commonly be plastic, and extending this to the accommodation the team would use at each stopover in the race.

All sailors used reusable water bottles on board, and all food was stored in either bamboo or stainless steel food boxes, or wrapped in a Bees Wraps reusable food wrapping paper. Food was stored in burlap cool bags. The team ate meals from a stainless steel thermos with titanium cutlery and drank from titanium smoothie shakers or mugs. Each sailor was given a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste stored in recyclable packaging, while their clothing and equipment was stowed in bags made from old sail cloth. Garbage was carried in compostable waste bags.

EarthSense air quality monitoring science programme

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team worked with air quality experts EarthSense to launch a science programme to promote sustainability and ocean conservation during The Ocean Race Europe by capturing air quality data throughout the race. During the race, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team used EarthSense Zephyr® air quality monitors to measure air pollution levels at sea.

EarthSense collated, analysed, and compared air quality data from the Zephyr® monitors through MyAir® and created visualisations of pollution levels to determine the exposure experienced by the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team on their journey around Europe. An air quality report was published after each leg to communicate the measurements taken in challenging conditions at sea, from the coast of France, across the Bay of Biscay and into the Mediterranean.

The Good Bottle

Every year, over 400 million tons of plastic are produced around the world, resulting in the destruction of habitats, the extinction of species and the deterioration of human health. In collaboration with Minho University, Team founders the Mirpuri Foundation developed “The Good Bottle”, an innovative package that is 100% biodegradable and was developed for the welfare of humanity. This new material, presented first in the shape of a mineral water bottle, in partnership with the Monchique Water Society, an industrial partner, promises to make way for a profound transformation in the global industry.

The “Good Bottle” shows a 74% biodegradability rate after 45 days, and under controlled composting conditions in accordance with the ISO norm 14855-1:2012, and a 90% rate up to 12 months, depending on the conditions it is exposed to, according to ISO norm 13432. In addition, since the bottle’s composition comprises algae, these might serve as food for the marine species during the bottle’s quick disintegration process. The material’s base composition and its permanent contact with water triggers its hydrolysis in a very short time span. The material is also biodegradable when in contact with organic waste.

Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy

The first stopover of The Ocean Race Europe took place in the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team’s home port of Cascais, west of Lisbon. The Cascais coastal race featured as part of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, a plastic-free, health controlled event, to raise important funds and awareness for accelerating ocean health restoration. Among the many initiatives at the sustainable event was the launch of the Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award.

The Award was created to celebrate companies or individuals who present a scientific project that has a beneficial impact on the health of our oceans, with the winning project receiving the ‘The Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award of the Year 2021’ plus prize money of €5,000 for the exemplary accomplishments of the work to reduce environmental impact on the world’s seas. This year’s winner, Joanna M. Gonçalves, impressed the panel of judges with her submission, entitled “EMERGING,” studying emerging contaminants through monitoring mussel populations to evaluate water quality and population dynamics.

 

Racy the Sailfish

Ahead of The Ocean Race Europe, Mirpuri Foundation Racing Introduced a team mascot and ocean ambassador. Racy is a sailfish, the fastest marine animal in all the seven seas. As part of the team’s education programme, Racy helps to educate our fans young and old about ocean health and sustainability as we bring our message “Racing For The Planet” around Europe.

Paulo Mirpuri, Founder of the Mirpuri Foundation said: “It is a great privilege to join hundreds of global sporting events, teams and organizations in the collective fight against climate change. It is critical for us all to lead by example in how to create a sustainable future for the sporting community, to turn the tide on the destruction of our planet and create a meaningful pathway for our sport to contribute to the recovery of our oceans and the delicate ecosystems upon which we rely so heavily. It is this collectivism that is at the heart of our foundation and our racing team, and it gives me such motivation to see the scale of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action initiative and the energy with which its core principles are being adopted around the world. This is a race we can—and must—win.”

All twelve teams competing in The Ocean Race Europe have joined the Sports for Climate Action initiative. As a collective, we hope our commitment will inspire our fans, community and government to raise their climate ambition in a united effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C to avoid significantly worsening the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

The Ocean Race first joined Sports for Climate Action in 2019 and has worked with teams to support their sustainability journeys, including helping them to track their impact through a GHG Emissions Tracking Tool that the Race developed for this purpose.

The estimated GHGs for The Ocean Race Europe are approximately 250 tonnes, one quarter of which is the race organisers’ impacts and the remaining from race team participation. Along with teams, the Race supports a certified blue carbon project to restore mangroves in Madagascar, which locks away carbon and supports marine life and local communities. The project draws down more GHGs than the Race produced, in order to help achieve the goal of becoming climate positive and contributing to accelerating ocean health restoration.