Friday Reads: How to design a Sailing Ship for the 21st Century by Kris De Decker

Today’s contribution comes from the desk of our Executive Director, Glen McDermott.

Who loves to be out on the water this time of year? Indeed, boats and beaches in the summertime make for great quality of life in Connecticut. However, we also have hard-working harbors that bring in cargo from all over the world. With this in mind, and in light of our recent Decarbonization panel for Earth Day, Board Member Greg Robbins, PhD, brought this little gem to our attention this week:

How to design a sailing ship for the 21st century?
published in Low Tech Magazine

A return to sail power for cargo shipping sounds like an eco-friendly slam dunk, doesn’t it?  Indeed, sailing ships are making a comeback for this purpose. 

We find, though, that sometimes words like “sustainability” and “carbon neutral” can become somewhat…squishy. It’s important to look closely at real numbers, as the Dutch company Fairtransport has. 

Since 2007 Fairtransport’s mission has been to raise awareness of climate-friendly transportation and to minimize our communal carbon footprint. With an engineless sailing fleet, they trade organic and traditionally crafted goods, and ship sustainable cargo overseas by wind power alone.

In this article you will learn how exactly they measured the cost:benefit ratio and ecological impact of building their next vessel for this purpose. In fact, prior to building, they analyzed the life cycle of a proposed ship part by part, function by function. You’re likely to be as surprised and fascinated as we were by all they had to consider, as well as their results.

The full article might be a 7-8 minute read. I’d say it’s worthwhile for any conscious leader aiming to balance positive intentions with effort and return on investment. We’d love to know what you think.

CHEERS for Friday and the start to a pleasant and productive Summer in CT!

Glen McDermott

Executive Director

Conscious Capitalism, CT Chapter

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