The race is taking sustainability to its heart by helping to "turn the tide on plastic" and the partnership with AkzoNobel will focus on boosting awareness through an education program designed to inspire future generations to act positively on marine litter.
"Our involvement with the Volvo Ocean Race and the participation of team AkzoNobel are a perfect fit with our Planet Possible sustainability strategy," explained André Veneman, AkzoNobel's Corporate Director of Sustainability.
"There's a fundamental link between the sustainability goals of the race itself and our own efforts to achieve radical resource efficiency, such as offering sustainable and innovative products to customers that provide a positive social and environmental impact. So it makes perfect sense for us to support the fantastic Volvo Ocean Race sustainability program being put together for the next race."
Added team AkzoNobel crew member Annemieke Bes: "This cooperation will play an important role in helping to raise awareness for the effect plastic is having on our environment and the impact it's having on our oceans. As sailors, we see this first-hand so we're proud to be part of this partnership to turn the tide on plastic."
The 12 race villages - which are expected to attract millions of visitors - will be a major focus of the sustainability program that's being introduced. As well as eliminating the use of single-use plastics where possible, there will be a major push to change people's views and behaviors when it comes to the health of our oceans. AkzoNobel will also be using the opportunity to show visitors how reducing emissions to air and discharges to the sea can help to make people's lives more liveable and inspiring.
Another key pillar of the program will be a series of Ocean Summits focused on bringing science, politics, government and sport together to get them to commit to changing the way they behave or operate. "Our goal is to leave a legacy," explained Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Mark Turner. "We go to 12 host cities and in each location we are able to impact, influence, change views and get new commitments from governments and business."
AkzoNobel's long association with the sea means the company is already playing a key role in helping to protect the world's oceans. For example, it's estimated that the Intersleek range supplied through the International brand has helped to save $3 billion of fuel and 32 million tons of CO2 since being introduced 21 years ago. Recently, the company also announced its intention to be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energy in its operations by 2050.