Monaco at the crossroads of innovations
2e Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous (25 & 26 September 2022)
For the second year in a row, under the aegis of the collective Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting brand, Yacht Club de Monaco hosted the 2nd Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous. “For many years, Yacht Club de Monaco and its President HSH Prince Albert II have supported any action promoting sustainability in the yachting world. We need to act together and fast. YCM is a platform to present tangible solutions that can make a difference,” said Bernard d’Alessandri, President of Cluster Yachting Monaco and General Secretary of Yacht Club de Monaco.
Organised by M3 (Monaco Marina Management), a consultancy specialised in development, management and promotion of marinas and yacht clubs, alongside Blumorpho, experts in innovation for sustainable business, and supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Government’s digital transition programme Extended Monaco, Credit Suisse, Al-Rushaid Group, Bombardier, MB92 and Xerjoff, the meeting is unprecedented on every level. “We work to develop virtuous marinas to reduce the impact of human activity on the environment,” explains Jose Marco Casellini, CEO of M3.
With 250+ players from across the ecosystem (industrialists, investors, innovators, marina developers, architects and yachting players) in attendance, for the candidates (50 startups, 20 marinas and architects from 26 nations) referenced in the E-Catalogue, it was an opportunity to present viable solutions to meet environmental challenges. “Startups present solutions, companies are there to hear them, marinas explain what they need and how to work better with them, and that’s not forgetting investors who are there to support the evolution. An environmental transition requires a multi-disciplinary approach and the best place to do that is here in the Principality,” says Géraldine A. Gustin, CEO of Blumorpho, which is behind the highly original networking process that takes several months to select startups.
Technology key to a joint commitment
“In my opinion there are two important notions. The first is the ‘Smart’ notion. Everything is Smart today. It allows us to turn a dream into reality. This is what can make the difference when it comes to sustainability. Being Smart means an end to waste. The second notion is that of a platform. Together we will build something bigger. We need people to invent and have a vision. Our presence here today is living proof of what we can do. Monaco is yachting and yachting is smart,” said Frédéric Genta, the Principality’s Chief Country Officer for Attractiveness and the Digital Transition.
Convinced technology is a catalyst for change, Sheikh Rasheed Al Rushaid, Chairman and CEO of the Al-Rushaid Group underlined the significant impact everyone can make to the change: “It is our responsibility to utilise the technology assets we have to hand to move towards more eco-responsible yachting – for the planet, for the oceans and the new generation. To achieve this we need smart solutions executed intelligently to enable a project to develop”.
Protection and adaptability
As climate change bears down on the world, it is more important than ever to find a sustainable approach, the only way to promote the competitiveness of tourist destinations. Protecting these regions is therefore crucial, particularly for the economy as they account for nearly 50% of global tourism. “Today, there are hopeful signs of a reconciliation between Man and the oceans. We must make this transition happen to be its first beneficiaries. It is thanks to all players that we will see the benefits in the short-term,” began Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Reducing waste and pollutants, optimising water and energy resources, supporting startups working to produce materials capable of accelerating reef building and biodiversity in urbanised marine areas, or promoting systems to assess how they evolve over time, as well as fauna and flora, are all actions that will have a positive impact on future infrastructures.
According to Oliver Withers, Global Head of Biodiversity at Credit Suisse: “The preservation and restoration of marine ecosytems is a critical pillar of global biodiversity. Through meaningful dialogue and investment in targeted conservation and sustainable yachting practices, we can best preserve our seas and oceans as long-term natural assets to be enjoyed by future generations.”
After a first day focused on networking, the rendezvous continued the next morning with two round tables.
Entitled ‘Business value brought by positive impact and sustainability’, the first session demonstrated the tangible value of the sustainable approach for a project. “It’s a long journey,” explained Nicolas Leterrier, VP Innovation at Schneider Electric, “we have to go concrete step by concrete step to achieve it. For me, data is one of the keys”. A comment shared by Sylvain Makaya, maritime funds at Eurazeo and Areti Priovolou, Health, Safety & Environment Officer at D-Marin who agreed adding “data influences decisions by investors”.
The second round table, focused on the Blue Economy, gave the floor to a range of players in the yachting sector such as Marc Hervás, Head of Sustainability at MB92, a shipyard committed to sustainability and a source of employment in the Mediterranean, but also people like Ben Lesage from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance: “Our oceans are suffering; there are many challenges to overcome. You also need to free your creative mind and be inspired by nature”.
This year there were also seven workshops to broaden the discussion among participants: optimising energy was among other topics that dominated debates, as was renewable energy
Designing sustainability in from the start
New this year were the contributions made by nine Marinas and nine Architects who presented their projects to an international jury chaired by the renowned British sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and architect Jean-Michel Willmotte.
“Monaco has a certain legitimacy. Between the architecture and the harbour, the city and the sea, it is one. It is as if Monaco set out to set an example; a source of inspiration for many other destinations. Above all a marina is a living space, a lively place where one can dream and enjoy life. We can see how the sketches and the design are very creative,” noted the famous French architect.
The Norwegians from Snøhetta, whose semi-submerged building fits so well into its marine environment, its architecture symbolising the essence of a marina as a link between land and sea, won the 2022 International Smart & Sustainable Architecture ‘Coup de Cœur’ Award. Winners of the Architect category were the Austrians from NBAX and their project to rehabilitate an old shipyard in the town centre of Sanya, China.
In the Marina category, the 2022 International Smart & Sustainable Marina Award went to the Greek FLISVOS Marina project. Their marina is like a model of a town where the architectural aesthetics are in total harmony with the surrounding marine environment. From mobility to optimising energy and water use with the territory and town, Flisvos Marina embraces a range of environmental goals. “This is a unique event to discover technology solutions required to develop marinas,” commented Stavros Katsikadis, CEO of Flisvos Marina.
The 2022 International Smart & Sustainable Marina ‘Coup de Cœur’ Award has been given to Ra’anan Ben-Zur, CEO and developer of the HABACOA (Bahamas) project. The marina is 160 miles south of Florida on the main maritime route from USA to the Caribbean. Designed with the environment in mind, the marina makes every effort to protect south Habacoa’s biodiversity and pristine nature. The project will make full use of its 340 days of sunshine a year to meet a big proportion of its energy needs.
Finally, the much-anticipated 2022 International Smart & Sustainable Startup Award went to ECOncrete entered in the biodiversity category. The Israeli startup produces an innovative concrete for maritime constructions that enables them to store carbon and preserve biodiversity. “What an honour it is for us to get this prize, especially in the biodiversity category,” said a delighted Philippe Leblanc, European Sales Manager ECOncrete. “Our company developed and produces a unique bio-energy concrete technology designed to promote the marine environment and biodiversity with a range of options to help build responsible coastal and marine constructions. We are convinced we have a solution to help build the marinas of the future. It is therefore a real honour to have this opportunity to network with this amazing ecosystem”.
Feedback on experience
Two winners from the first edition were also at the rendezvous and keen to share their experience. Marco Calcamuggi – Director of Development and Innovation at H2X Ecosystem said of the event: “It really raised our company’s profile and helped us develop and find markets by giving as the opportunity to meet people from other countries like Egypt and Canada. We have started a programme with Québec to install our green energy production system with hydrogen generators to bring electricity to part of the port of Québec. So many things have happened since we got that award, not just in terms of visibility. We saw it was a genuine, very significant market opening up to us. It’s something we did not imagine happening before we took part in this event. It’s been incredible”.
It was the same for Catherine de Roincé, CEO of Terroïko which came third at last year’s Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Awards: “Since last year the Terroïko team has doubled and we have come up with solutions for marine ecosystems. We met so many people, including representatives from companies and investors. We will have concrete actions in the coming year”.
With a total of 24 hours of networking, participants consolidated promises of collaboration to prepare budget plans and become part of the evolution taking place in yachting. Monaco is establishing itself as the true Capital of Advanced Yachting.
In the continuity of marina event, the organisers now want to convene the entire ecosystem of boats on 23-24 March 2023 during the Monaco Ocean Week, for the first Monaco Smart Yacht Rendezvous.