On the 9th of June, a unique group of six women will embark on a perilous 2,000-mile journey around Great Britain, including skipper Kat Bruce, the founder of eDNA monitoring specialists Nature Metrics. As they prepare to take on this year's GB Row Challenge, their voyage offers not only a powerful display of athletic talent, but also a genuine commitment to environmental responsibility.

The annual event, which first set sail in 2005 from London's iconic Tower Bridge, is more than just a demanding maritime challenge- for Bruce, it's a significant scientific expedition. By collecting vital environmental data during the event, including metrics on microplastics, biodiversity, ocean acoustics, and temperature variations, Bruce and her team contribute to ongoing research initiatives spearheaded by the University of Portsmouth. The findings of their endeavours may help to advance our understanding of marine ecosystems and the widespread influence of human activity on these vulnerable areas.

In Bruce's case, this is the second time she's taken part in the event. In 2022, she sailed with Team Albatross, which included triple Olympic gold medallist rower Andy Triggs-Hodge and GB Row founder William de Laszlo. This year, the all-female crew, aptly named "Sea Change," includes a diverse cast of members, such as Net Zero Consultant Aoife Luscombe and PhD student Laura Fantuzzi. Together, the team injects a broad spectrum of knowledge around the topic of sustainability, increasing inclusivity in environmental activism and highlighting the importance of varied perspectives in advancing sustainability.

Over the past year, the UK has seen a number of unprecedented weather events. From record-breaking heat waves to severe flooding incidents, data from the Met Office indicates that the UK's ten warmest years have all happened since 2002, with a clear trend of rising temperatures and more erratic weather patterns.

Globally, the global average carbon dioxide reached a new record high in 2023. This, in turn, influences weather patterns and contributes to rising sea levels and increased coastal erosion-challenges that are particularly poignant for an island nation such as the UK.

Looking ahead, the situation remains concerning. Projections suggest that without significant mitigation efforts, the UK can expect further increases in average temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events, and substantial economic impacts. According to the Committee on Climate Change, by 2050, the UK needs to prepare for several degrees of warming, more widespread flooding, and severe disruption to ecosystems and biodiversity.

Internationally, scientists warn that if global temperatures rise by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels-a threshold likely to be breached in the coming decades-the consequences will be even more severe, from massive loss of biodiversity to critical shortages of freshwater.

Commenting on their upcoming feat, Bruce said: "It's an immense privilege to be taking on this challenge for the second time - to have another chance to experience this incredible coastline and all its natural wealth. It's an even greater privilege to be sharing it with such a phenomenal team of women. We each bring different perspectives on tackling environmental challenges, with our day jobs ranging from scientific research to environmental technology to helping businesses on their journey to net zero. 

Through our journey we aim to use our voices and professional experience to inspire individuals and businesses to take action for our oceans, and to shine a light on the many initiatives that are already showing how nature can be restored and allowed to flourish."

As the women of the "Sea Change" crew highlight the importance of environmental stewardship, businesses too have a pivotal role in ensuring a sustainable future. By taking proactive steps towards sustainability, businesses can help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and lead by example in the transition to a greener economy.

Ways businesses can combat climate change

Reduce Carbon Footprint: To decrease carbon emissions, businesses could improve energy efficiency, use renewable energy sources, and optimise logistics. Implementing a carbon management strategy can help to identify and achieve considerable reductions.

Sustainable Practices: Implementing sustainable operational methods such as waste minimization, recycling, and the use of eco-friendly materials benefit the environment while also saving money.

Innovate: Investing in R&D to build long-lasting products and services -  in a more sustainable world, innovation has the potential to open new markets and provide a competitive advantage.

Educate and Engage: Businesses can, and should, use their power and influence to educate employees, customers, and the community about the value of sustainability. What's more, engaging with stakeholders on these topics can boost reputation and encourage collective action.

Policy Advocacy: Businesses have a strong voice in crafting policies that promote a sustainable future, and can consider getting involved in policy discussions and lobbying for rules that promote sustainable development.