How Royal Danish Yacht Club Earned Sustainability Award, and What Comes Next

Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) was recently awarded a distinguished Platinum Certificate for sustainability in the Nordic Region in 2021, an incredible achievement for the Sustainability Committee. This group, headed by Søren Helmer and known colloquially as the “KDY Green Team” is tasked to deliver, manage, develop and follow up on established sustainability activities, with many more projects to be initiated in 2022.

Søren Helmer is quite clear in presentation: “The Royal Danish Yacht Club must be Denmark’s leading sustainable sailing club. Outwardly, both in the surrounding society, and towards the Danish and foreign sailing clubs and sailors, KDY stands as the beacon that drives the development of sustainability within our sport.”

Sustainability not only helps to strengthen respect for the Club — it also supports a healthy economy. KDY is excited to start the 2022 season with a fleet of four electric self-driving racing buoys that set racecourses via a mobile app. In addition to being able to set and adjust the course more quickly, these devices also represent a significant reduction in the use of fuel-intensive RIB engines. The only potential downside is that future volunteers will have to seek alternative forms of weight training, now that the manual salvage of anchor gear will be a thing of the past.

Taking a position as a frontrunner for sustainability is an enormous undertaking. Some might even say it’s unmanageable, and it is certainly a profound cultural change for the almost 157-year-old the Royal Danish Yacht Club. Søren Helmer says of this, “All tasks and goals are not solved immediately, but it is important to agree on guidelines, priorities and define relevant tasks.”


Sustainability at all Levels at KDY

Helmer clarifies that the goal of the Green Team is to create a structure so that all KDY club activities comply with and support the sustainability goals of the Club. “It is important that all members of KDY, from the youngest Opti sailor to the oldest of old hands, feel like an active part of the KDY Green Team. We owe it to the world’s oceans as they are the very foundation for the enjoyment of sailing.”

To achieve the 2021 Platinum Certificate, KDY infused sustainability across its club activities including a “green” J/70 European Championship and efforts by many KDY volunteers, KDY staff, Skovshoved Harbour and Gentofte Municipality.

In 2022 and beyond, KDY maintains the outlook to continue developing sustainable competitions, and to incorporate sustainability into other daily activities in support of building the ultimate sustainable sailing club. The Green Team’s goals and activities will help ensure that KDY, today and in the future, nationally and internationally, is the leading sustainable sailing club.

The UN’s goals toward sustainability inspired the international and the world’s only marine conservation organization that engages, educates and activates the sailing and boating community toward restoring ocean health: Sailors for the Sea. Their programs are multifaceted and have been used in 63 countries around the world, and are a great starting point for organizations and individuals seeking to adopt green initiatives. Read more on www.sailorsforthesea.org


Practicing Sustainability at KDY


A playbook has been prepared for all upcoming competitions. A list of Green Team-certified partners and suppliers will be available to support the activities performed before, during and after a regatta. Sustainability will be as important in planning as scheduling port berths and judges, and will be a significant factor in considering companion vessels, social events, communications and prizes. The goal is for a minimum of 3 (and preferably all) KDY events to achieve the 2022 Sailors for the Sea Certificate.

Committee Work

The KDY Green Team will integrate sustainability into all KDY’s central committees and activities and prepare a Green Team plan with each committee.


Working with the Green Team, KDY will pursue partnerships that results in energy-efficient and sustainable ports, clubhouses and daily operations. To clearly agree on guidelines, priorities, and relevant tasks, KDY will work on establishing green cooperation between KDY/Tuborg Port, Gentofte Municipality and companies around Tuborg Harbour. Likewise, KDY will establish collaborations with relevant partners for activities in the municipal ports of Skovshoved Harbour and Rungsted Harbour.

Cooperation with Nordic Ocean Watch.

KDY is committed to performing at least three port cleanings with Nordic Ocean Watch and participation from KDY members.


The Green Team is creating the base for a loyal sponsorship network.

Thanks to the 2022 KDY GREEN TEAM!

Søren Helmer, Chairman

Susanne Allerup, Sustainable Regattas

Alessandro Karsfred, Sustainable Fuel

Peter Stephensen Lübeck, Representative of the Board of Directors and Member of the Racing Committee