Cara Delevingne is one of the most outspoken eco-activists in the world of fashion. Through her collections for Karl Lagerfeld and Puma, her charity work and her social media campaigns, the British supermodel and actress has long been an advocate for sustainable causes.
The latest initiative Delevingne has thrown his support behind is electric racing, the world’s first all-electric powerboat series. Formula E and the Extreme E off-road series, the UIM E1 World Championship usher in a new era of electric boat racing that aims to inspire a new audience to think and act differently.
Ahead of its launch in 2023, the team unveiled the series’ racing boat, the Racebird, at a packed event at the Venice Boat Show. During the event, special guest Delevingne spoke with ForbesUSA about his passion for sustainability, the importance of electrical engineering, and how he’s inspiring the next generation of green warriors.
Welcome to the Venice Boat Show. Why are you here supporting the E1 Series?
This is an extremely amazing event to be at and I am very excited for what is to come. Ever since I went to Formula E and saw what they were doing, I realized that the future is 100% electric. Starting a championship like this and inspiring people to think more about electric motors, electric batteries and sustainability is very important. Diesel engines are destroying the planet and polluting lakes and rivers, which is terrible, so if we can move further towards this, especially by creating an amazing event where engineering and electric motors are highlighted, that’s for the best.
Have you been involved with the team since they launched Formula E?
Yes. I’m a big fan of everything they do. The Formula E event was one of my favorite events. Anything that has to do with engineering and sports is very exciting for me. The series brings together all the things I believe in, especially sustainability. I have my own charity that I have been supporting for a long time. There’s a lot of exciting things coming up and hopefully we’ll be able to partner with E1.
Do you have a passion for sailing?
I sailed when I was younger. I am not a great sailor, although I have already traveled in different boats. However, I love engineering. This is the most beautiful ship I have ever seen. I just met its designer, Sophi Horne. I think it is very important that they also have a woman in charge of all these projects.
Where does your commitment to sustainability come from?
Since I was a child. I have always believed in nature, and nature is something that feeds my soul, I cannot spend much time in the city. However, I was never aware of the impact of eating meat or what my effect is on the planet. It gave me an idea of that, but I decided to remain ignorant before what I saw, something that many people do. I thought ignorance was the key to happiness until my best friend from school educated me. He told me ‘listen, you have a platform and you can inspire a lot of positive change. Here are the facts, these are the things that people lie about, this is what is really going to happen and this is what we can do.’
What charities and campaigns have you launched so far?
We started with EcoResolution, which was more of a social media campaign that went very well. It was about not having to be what you want, the premise was: if your plan hasn’t worked, keep going because none of us are perfect. We are all hypocrites in many ways, but it’s about trying to do your best and inspiring others to do the same.
Now, we have started a charity called Earth. I can’t talk much about it because it won’t be released for a couple of months, but I’m very excited. Basically, it’s a new platform that’s like a Netflix Masterclass where people will be able to get free online courses on how to be more sustainable around the world.
On a personal level, what do you do to live a more sustainable life?
I always try to offset my carbon footprint every time I fly. I don’t use plastic bottles or straws. I also run my houses with solar panels. I always try to keep up with what I can do and try to change as much as I can, which is difficult because I work in an industry that is quite wasteful.
I try to be sustainable with the clothes I design. I just did a collection with Karl Lagerfeld that is totally sustainable and recycled. I have a wonderful yoga line with Puma – we use sustainable materials and eco-friendly dyes. We also know where it comes from and the women who make it. Every time I do a job like that, I give some of the money I earn to charity; I also have the brand I work with make donations.
What is your advice to those trying to inspire people to be more sustainable?
You have to make it fun and cool because it can be a very serious topic. I think that’s why Extinction Rebellion did such a great job. All the science behind this is really honest: we’ve already been told the facts, so it’s up to us to do something. It would be unfair if we left the world for the younger generation to clean up our mess.