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Affordable and clean energy & Innovation and Infrastructure
Published: 23rd April 2021

By Corinna Goepfert

Image Karsten Babucke

Sail cargo and the SDGs: Goal 7 & Goal 9

“As a way of measuring the contribution of the sailing industry to a sustainable future, we analyzed it in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are to be achieved by 2030. The Goals are “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.

Sail Cargo and Travel Market Overview 2020

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an internationally recognised set of goals created by the UN. They are a broad framework for companies, governments and communities to help work towards a sustainable future and are a useful tool to indicate the level of change that can be implemented. Sail cargo is an industry which offers a sustainable shipping solution, and meets many of the demands of the SDGs.

Goals 7 and 9 look at affordable and clean energy, and innovation and infrastructure respectively. While using sailing vessels to ship cargo may seem “old-fashioned”, this technology actually has huge potential to tap into renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydro-power. Maritime shipping infrastructure has had to adapt quickly to the colossal vessels that are being added to the fleet. While sail cargo vessels are considerably smaller than their conventional counterparts, current infrastructure would accommodate sail cargo, with the view to ensure more sustainable choices are made in their design and planning.


Goal 7 & Goal 9

Affordable and clean energy & Innovation and Infrastructure

A containership of around 8,000 TEU (TEU = twenty foot long containers) would consume around 225 tonnes of fuel per day steaming at 24 knots. They use Heavy Fuel Oil which is dirty and highly polluting. Sailing requires little to no fuel. The ships use affordable and clean energy; the wind. Many of these vessels also use solar power and wind turbines to generate power on board. Affordable, clean energy provided the impetus for sail cargo and travel and has a continuing benefit. Depending on the routes, size and cargo, sailing ships can be built with innovative methods in the best way to use existing conditions as effectively as possible. 

Nowadays, developing and building sail cargo vessels is a growing market that has been a niche sector over the last decades. However, history has shown us that sail cargo and travel works, but that there is also room for development. Innovation lies in designing and building new sail cargo ships. This combination of stimulation in traditional ship-building, the heritage industry and innovation includes the resources to build sailing vessels. 

To make the sailing infrastructure emission-free and environmentally friendly, resources such as wood from regenerative systems can be used. Ships are built in ‘green shipyards’ together with local communities, see Sail Cargo Inc. As sailing ships are also considerably smaller, they are able to visit smaller ports as well as larger, which en

Sail cargo and travel go together perfectly and can therefore combine sustainable travel and emission-free transport. 

Sail travel becomes more popular as many people want to travel by emission-free transport. Travelling by sailing ship follows the principle that “the journey, not the destination matters” and allows people to experience travelling with all senses and learning about traditions and innovation. 

The food and commodity market would be innovated in order to promote ethically driven, sustainably sourced and delivered goods.

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