Case study Saildrone

Saildrone partners with EcoAct to assess their impact for their inaugural Carbon Impact Report

The challenge

Saildrone, recently recognized as one of Time’s 100 most influential companies, is dedicated to ocean health and environmental stewardship, with a mission to provide comprehensive data solutions for maritime security, ocean mapping, and ocean data. As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, Saildrone sought support in assessing its carbon impact through two separate initiatives: first analyzing the emissions resulting from its business activities; and second, analyzing the emissions avoided through the use of its zero- and low-carbon solutions as compared to traditional alternatives.

EcoAct is proud to have supported Saildrone in this endeavor, leading the development of Saildrone’s 2022 Scope 1-3 GHG inventory and the crafting of its inaugural Carbon Impact Report.

Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) provide innovative autonomous ability to gather the large volumes of ocean data needed to address a daunting array of challenges, from seafloor mapping and maritime security to storm intensification, carbon cycling, and sustainable fisheries management. Saildrone technology supports the company’s vision of “a healthy ocean and a safe, sustainable planet.” Powered almost entirely by renewable wind and solar energy, Saildrone USVs deliver critical data from the most remote corners of the ocean.

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"Working with EcoAct has been instrumental in helping us launch our sustainability journey. Their expertise in GHG emissions accounting and comprehensive reporting has provided us with the insights needed to assess our operations and identify opportunities to reduce emissions."

Barak Ben-Gal, CFO, Saildrone

The solution

To support Saildrone, EcoAct began by engaging with key stakeholders to provide education around emissions accounting and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In addition, EcoAct conducted a screening of Saildrone’s business and value chain to identify relevant sources of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Through this process, EcoAct was able to target data owners within Saildrone to gather the data required for quantifying Saildrone’s emissions. EcoAct then completed all calculations, delivering Saildrone’s first complete Scope 1-3 inventory.

After measuring its carbon footprint, EcoAct supported Saildrone in crafting a compelling narrative detailing its Scope 1-3 emissions and avoided emissions, how they compare, and demonstrating the positive impact of Saildrone’s business. To do this, EcoAct first critically evaluated the avoided emissions work completed by Saildrone and assessed its alignment with the latest best practice guidance on avoided emissions accounting from the World Business Council of Sustainable Development. EcoAct then drafted the report content, packaging this narrative in a visually compelling, public-facing report.

EcoAct has continued to act as Saildrone’s trusted sustainability partner, most recently supporting the calculation of its 2023 GHG inventory.

Saildrones total GHG emissions by Scope
Saildrones total GHG emissions by Scope


The result

  • Saildrone has calculated and published its complete Scope 1-3 footprint, gaining important insights regarding the composition of its emissions (e.g., that over 90% of emissions result from Scope 3 sources).
  • EcoAct identified key areas to target for data collection improvement and emissions reductions, such as procurement, logistics, and business travel.
  • EcoAct was able to identify an important element that was double-counted across the Scope 1-3 and avoided emissions calculation methodologies (emissions generated from operation of USVs during missions), and unify an approach that eliminated this discrepancy.
  • After aligning the methodologies, the report data demonstrates that Saildrone’s fleet, which in 2022 consisted almost wholly of its zero-carbon Explorer-Class USVs, avoided 99.9% of operational emissions for maritime data gathering.
  • In addition, the report data demonstrates that for every tonne of emissions produced in its 2022 operations, Saildrone avoided 1.43 tonnes that would have been produced had Saildrone USVs not been utilized.