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Le Defi Areva Joins The Big Green Clean Up

Press Release 30 - Thursday 24 October, Auckland


The French Challenger to the America’s Cup, LE DEFI AREVA, has readily joined in the Auckland Regional Council’s (ARC’s) Big Clean Up in an effort to help scour the harbour and neighbouring streams and give something back to its beautiful host city.

In this new campaign, the ARC advises that local streams and harbours are becoming more polluted, with over 200 people dying from air pollution every year. Each month, the city produces enough rubbish to fill a rugby field to over ten stories high.

LE DEFI AREVA is doing its bit to keep New Zealand’s ‘clean green’ image in tact.

At its base in Halsey Street, team members are conscious of power saving (turning out lights when they are not in the room – even in the bathroom!), recycling the well over 100 water bottles that are consumed each day and reducing levels of air pollution by coming to work by bike.

"I would say that the majority of the team come to work on their bicycles", says onboard electronics expert and headsail trimmer, Christophe Lassegue. "There are so many bikes at LE DEFI that we had to build a special stand so we could get the crane in and out of the driveway!"

"We did some recycling in Lorient before we came to Auckland and that was well-received by locals there. It is not a very French thing to do yet, but I think it is catching on."

LE DEFI AREVA rarely uses detergents to clean its boats, and then, makes sure that they are ecologically sound varieties they brought with them from France.

Some members of the team are so keen to reduce air pollution in Auckland that they have given up smoking – an enormous feat for any smoker, but doubly so for the French for whom smokey bars and short blacks are a way of life.

"I decided that if I was coming to this clean, green country, I was going to try to be cleaner and ‘greener’ myself," says Communications Assistant, Rémi Villard. "I smoked for seven years but now I am making the most of my health and the coastal beauty that Auckland has to offer. I go running along Takapuna beach every morning and it is wonderful. I am living it – and loving it!"

The nuclear sponsorship of LE DEFI has been controversial but the team is proud to have AREVA on board as its major sponsor, and is comfortable with their presence in New Zealand.

‘’We perfectly understand and respect the choice of New-Zealanders on nuclear issues. The AREVA sponsorship is in no way trying to promote the nuclear energy business to New Zealand – especially as New Zealand has no need for nuclear energy,’’ says General Manager of LE DEFI AREVA, Xavier de Lesquen.

"It is interesting that European studies have shown nuclear energy to considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissons. In fact, nuclear energy generates 110 times less CO2 than natural gas and close to 240 times less CO2 than coal. French people currently produce eight times less greenhouse gas emissions than their American counterparts. So it’s not all bad," concludes M. de Lesquen.

LE DEFI AREVA will be involved in The Big Clean Up until it leaves Auckland for France: "Maybe as late as March, who knows??," he quips.


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