REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

Arrival of REV in Norway

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

Arrival of REV in Norway

Purpose

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

An update on an ambitious non-profit with a superyacht at its heart, and far more besides.

By Dominique Afacan | 22 June 2020

Superyacht owner and Norwegian businessman Kjell Inge Rokke signed the Giving Pledge in 2017, vowing to give away more than 50% of his fortune to philanthropic causes. So perhaps it’s not surprising that he is at the helm of REV Ocean, an initiative with one clear goal – to ensure a healthy ocean.

There are many moving parts to the initiative, including the much written-about superyacht, REV, but there are also three additional key projects, all developed to address plastic pollution, climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing.

Nina Jensen, CEO, is a key player across all parts of the non-profit organisation. She was drawn to the REV project despite already having her dream job at WWF Norway. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” she says, “but as a passionate conservationist and having spent the last 20 years of my life in the field, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t having a big enough impact. Being able to build REV up from scratch in such a perfect way and not having to spend any time on fundraising is great – I can just focus on the solutions.”

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

REV in build. Photo: Lawrence Hislop

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

REV in build. Photo: Lawrence Hislop

And there are plenty of solutions. For starters, there’s the Plastic REVolution Foundation which is focused on looking at commercially-viable, scalable business solutions to the ocean’s myriad plastic problems. It’s a topic close to Jensen’s heart. “I’ve always had a great passion for everything in the ocean, but just seeing the dramatic impact that plastics are having on the water puts it to the top of my list in terms of things we must work to resolve,” she says.

The foundation has recently completed its pilot scheme in Ghana and is currently looking at plans for the future. “If we were able to find better ways of keeping plastic out of the ocean and getting rid of what is already there –  that would be something super exciting,” says Jensen. “Maybe developing a swarm of underwater drones or other kinds of technology that can continuously be scooping up plastics at the great depths of the ocean. Who knows if that is possible but these are the sorts of things we’ll be looking into.”

In addition to the plastics foundation, REV Ocean has also developed an Ocean Data Platform, which aims to connect people, data and technology in an effort to drive sustainable ocean governance. “I hope it will provide important knowledge for key decision-makers, but also be an inspiration to those that haven’t been sharing their data openly up to now,” says Jensen. “We are part of the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action and one of the key goals there was liberating access to ocean data – that’s the basis for us starting up the Ocean Data Platform.”

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

REV in build. Photo: Lawrence Hislop

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

REV in build. Photo: Lawrence Hislop

Finally, the World Ocean Headquarters, described as a land-based version of the REV vessel is underway, despite some delays due to Covid-19. “The ambition is for it to be a global ocean solutions hub, where we bring together key ocean enthusiasts, decision-makers and experts,” explains Jensen. “It will also offer a co-working space for people working on various projects such as how to restore ocean habitats, how to save the world’s coral reefs, or how to eliminate illegal fishing, for example.” The headquarters will be located in a landmark building, The Big Blue, designed by leading architect Gert Windargh – which is aiming to be the most sustainable building in the world in its category.

Of course, the final piece of the puzzle is the REV vessel itself, which will be used for three key purposes; science, expedition and charter. “Unfortunately, Covid-19 has led to a bit of a delay in the launch date of our vessel, but once it’s up and running it’s important for us that two-thirds of the ship’s time is spent on the science and expedition elements in order to really advance ocean solutions,” explains Jensen.

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

A render of the soon-to-be-completed REV vessel

REV Ocean – much more than an expedition yacht

A render of the soon-to-be-completed REV vessel

The hope is also that the REV vessel might inspire others to follow suit. “I am hoping that we influence the superyacht industry in a very positive way, as people start to see that it’s possible to build an elegant and sleek superyacht in a sustainable way that also makes a real difference on important issues,” says Jensen.

Of course, the industry has already made huge leaps in recent years regarding environmental issues, with many shipbuilders, designers, brokers and owners taking steps to create positive change. “I’m inspired by the industry’s recent efforts – it feels that there is a willingness to change our ways, to upgrade practices and to invest in being part of the solution,” says Jensen. “We still need to accelerate and elevate our ambition though.”

And REV Ocean is certainly leading by example.

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