Williams Racing commits to becoming ‘climate positive’ by 2030

Williams Racing is now the first Formula 1 Team to be a signatory of the UNFCCC’s UN Sports for Climate Action Framework

The new sustainability strategy focuses on sustainable innovation, accessibility, ‘purpose driven leadership’, biodiversity and climate action. Williams Racing claims that the new commitments would see the racing team contribute to 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On the climate pillar, Williams Racing claims that its climate-positive target is in line with the “well below” 2C pathway of the Paris Agreement. There is little detail as to the targets for how aggressively the team will reduce carbon emissions from travel and energy consumption, but the statement includes a line to “over time create its own energy, on its journey to becoming climate positive”.

Williams Racing’s chief executive Jost Capito said: “Williams Racing is a pioneer in Formula One and the racing world and has a strong heritage developing Formula One technology and transferring it to the EV and sustainable transport and energy sectors. We are living in a time when our planet and society is changing faster than ever. Building on the progress the global motorsport industry has made on sustainability in recent years, we have taken time to thoroughly analyse our entire operation and develop a comprehensive purpose driven, Sustainability Strategy to accelerate our sustainable transformation.

“As a team, we wanted to push the envelope and be the pacesetter for sustainability in global motorsport and in the wider automotive industry. So today we are making the commitment to be climate positive by 2030 and we will be using our knowledge to nurture and develop advanced technology to meet this goal.”

Williams Racing is now the first Formula 1 Team to be a signatory of the UNFCCC’s UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. The team has also aligned with industry-specific standards and has recently gained FIA Three-star environmental accreditation. 

The new strategy includes a biodiversity target to protect and preserve biodiversity across its 60-acres HQ campus, including the Letcombe Brook – one of only 240 chalk streams in the world.

The team is also undertaking life cycle management of its racing cars, while promoting the circular economy and exploring carbon capture technologies.

Formula 1 and the FIA are pushing hard to reduce the environmental impact of motorsport and are already committed to being carbon net-zero by 2030.

Developed after a 12-month collaboration with F1 teams, promoters, motorsports’ governing body (the FIA) and other key stakeholders, the net-zero plan states that F1 will begin work on key carbon reduction projects “immediately”.

The operators of the series have committed to use 100% renewable electricity, heating and cooling within their offices, facilities and factories by 2030, and to ensure that all logistics are ultra-efficient and either low or zero-carbon by the same deadline. Logistics notably account for 45% of F1’s annual carbon footprint.

As for race-day emissions, the plan includes measures to divert 100% of event waste from landfill by 2025 and an incentives package to support fans to use low-carbon transport to travel to and from events.  

The UNFCCC’s sector engagement in climate action Lindita Xhaferi-Slihu said: “We are pleased to welcome Williams Racing as a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. The team is the first Formula One Team joining the Framework, sending a clear signal on the growing importance of setting clear climate targets and of using the sport and technologies as a catalyst for change. We look forward to working together with Williams Racing to deliver on the goals of the Framework.”

Last year, Formula E’s ABB FIA Championship became the world’s first sporting series to be certified as net-zero, after offsetting all residual emissions from its six seasons of racing.

The company has been measuring the carbon associated with its events since the first series was held in 2014-15 and has been gradually implementing measures to reduce emissions, such as minimising business travel and closing the loop on batteries.

As such, it said in a statement, it was able to offset the equivalent of all residual emissions resulting from its six series to date. It has purchased carbon credits which support projects that are verified by REDD and the UN, in line with the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism.

Formula E team Envision Virgin Racing also confirmed that it was the first racing team in the world to be certified as carbon neutral.

Matt Mace

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