Champions for Change – the voice for impact at SailGP

Champions for Change – the voice for impact at SailGP

Thomas Djurso
Thomas Djurso,

To raise awareness of climate challenges, share ideas and make new connections, SailGP, the global sailing league, has initiated the Champions for Change (C4C) forum. Cognizant is the official Digital Transformation Partner of the sports organization, supporting data visualization and helping to deliver a digital fan experience for the 257 million SailGP viewers.

When the Cognizant team arrived at the quay in Aarhus, we spotted a large number of mini catamarans flying by on foils. SailGP engages with each of their host cities to spread the joy of sailing to girls and boys (50/50) – the next generation of climate advocates. 

While this sport is fascinating in itself, there is a clear indication of a deeper purpose for the organization: to make an impact for clean energy and inclusion. SailGP has chosen to take a role as an advocate for action, because they see an opportunity in sharing within their passionate sports community. Most likely, more people follow sports than read science magazines.

The recent report from the UN (you can find the IPCC report here) about climate change is highlighting major challenges that face us all. The size of the necessary changes cannot be solved in isolation, therefore, SailGP has chosen to invest in facilitating the forum Champions for Change, C4C. 

I was honored to be invited to the first ever C4C event. The purpose of it is to crack the code through idea exchange within a strong network. The SailGP team had put together an excellent agenda with speakers from different parts of the Danish community and the EU. These are the highlights that will inspire us in our continuous work:

  • Learn how to manage your emission through science-based targets from CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for companies and regions to manage their environmental impacts by delivering “science-based targets” and possible solutions. Thinking green is becoming a norm and CDP mentioned that the Danish utility company, Ørsted, is a great example of how investments in green can pay off: Ørsted moved from coal to sustainable energy and their stock price skyrocketed. 
  • 97 city mayors from around the world are taking bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future through the network C40 Cities. It is time to act, and the solutions are here! 700+ million people will make a positive impact by adjusting their way of living through the decisions of these mayors. The organization facilitates effective collaboration to share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change; just like SailGP and its ambitions with the C4C initiative.
  • 40% of global emission comes from the building and construction sector and this is something Home.Earth wants to take action on. It is a European real estate company setting out to develop urban communities with inclusivity, liveability and sustainability at its core. The organization was represented by a slightly untraditional speaker in the corporate context – the co-founder and guitarist from the Danish rock band Nephew, Kristian Riis.
  • Heating and cooling account for two-thirds of a building's total energy consumption. Most of this energy is wasted due to insufficient insulation. This is where the insulation producer ROCKWOOL enters the scene. They melt natural stone through an energy-intensive process to produce mineral wool out of melting stones. In January 2021, the company converted large parts of the production in the Nordic region to fossil-free energy sources. This was possible through an in-house developed production technology, resulting in a 70% reduction of direct CO2 emissions. 


SailGP is also the first carbon-neutral championship, and its goal is to be fully “Powered By Nature” by 2025. All in all, the C4C event was truly inspiring, and I will definitely infuse some of the key learnings in my future work. We need to reverse and not leave a fossil-fueled society to the next generation.

If you’re curious to learn about Cognizant’s own ideas when it comes to sustainability, check out our latest ESG report or read this article on Digital sustainability. It is time to move from change to action!