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Emily Penn’s appearance on this week’s edition of The Sustainability Report Podcast couldn’t be more timely. Next month, the ocean advocate and skipper will embark on her most ambitious project to date: sending 300 multidisciplinary women around the world to conduct scientific research on the growing ocean plastics crisis.

The eXXpedition crew will experience 30 voyages (equating to 38,000 nautical miles) over a two-year period attempting to find a solution to the declining health of the Earth’s waters, that are being impacted massively by the ubiquity of the material in our everyday lives. It’s estimated that eight million tonnes of plastic is being dumped in the ocean every year, polluting the water and posing a significant threat to marine life.

During this episode, Emily will discuss her decade-long campaign to raise awareness of the issue and her quest to encourage every one of us to reevaluate our relationship with plastic.

Crucially, she will talk about how the sports industry – a major purchaser and provider of single-use plastic – can change its behaviour and offer more sustainable products related to athlete hydration and food and beverage packaging for fans.

Emily has worked with World Sailing, The Ocean Race and Sky Ocean Rescue – which has collaborated with several Premier League football clubs to provide reusable cups for fans during games – to move the needle in sport. But her message is crystal clear: an awful lot more needs to be done by all stakeholders.

“You have governing bodies in each of these different sports and if they can come along and change the rules a bit to incentivise people to do things sustainably, then that means you can be competitive and move the bar on sustainability at the same time,” she says.

“It’s really important to get buy-in from all parties – we need the governance there, but we also need industry coming to the table, and the competitors and individuals passionate about the issue as well.”

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