Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022

This week in the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup I bring you news from electric karting in Sweden, commercializing guayule, a Mercedes solar farm and more. I also look at an idea for change in Every Little Bit Counts and my occasional update on developments in sustainable transportation in Getting to the Track Sustainably. All this plus The Big Picture in this week’s green news racers can use.

Sustainable Motorsport News

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022
(pic – Micke Fransson)
  • The first ever Swedish E-Kart Championship took place at the GTR Motorpark (Green Track Resort) in Eskilstuna last weekend to crown the 2022 champions in the Rotax E20 Junior and Senior classes. The debut of the national E-Kart event was a new addition to the program at the annual Prince Carl Philip’s Racing Trophy and Swedish Rotax MAX Challenge series.
  • With skyrocketing energy bills being the primary reason but with an eye towards a more sustainable future, Mercedes F1 has approved a plan to reduce its energy costs over the long term by investing in a solar farm in partnership with a third party. According to Autosport, “the plan is to create a solar farm at an unspecified location near its factory, which can then provide the team with power.”
  • Extreme E team X44 will have a title sponsor for the first time in the form of Vida Carbon, branding the team X44 Vida Carbon Racing beginning with the upcoming Extreme E round in Antofagasta on 24/25 September. “Vida Carbon is a Canadian investment firm specialising in carbon credit, which is a permit for a given party to emit a certain amount of carbon (a single carbon credit is worth a tonne of greenhouse gas). The company currently oversees four carbon credit projects like providing high efficiency stoves in Ghana and India, REDD+ (“Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”) conservation in the Amazon, and improving rice farming irrigation in Telangana.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Guayule Tire with Plants
Photo: Bridgestone
  • I have mentioned in previous Sustainable Motorsport Roundups the new guayule-based racing tire that Bridgestone has showcased recently in Indycar (under the Firestone brand) and now the company has announced that they aim to commercialize the tire technology by 2030. “Bridgestone Americas has announced plans to establish commercial operations for planting and harvesting a woody desert shrub called guayule as a domestic source of natural rubber in America’s desert southwest. Nashville, Tennessee-based Bridgestone Americas is the North American branch of the Bridgestone tire manufacturer based in Tokyo, Japan. “

Every Little Bit Counts

Every Little Bit Counts looks at small steps that you can take to decrease your environmental impact and increase your sustainability.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022
  • Coorest has some interesting NFTs called NFTrees that you may want to consider in your sustainability plans. According to the company, these are the benefits of Coorest NFTrees. They have also created a special C02 calculator that you can use to calculate the carbon compensation per ton, based on their NFTrees.

The Big Picture

In The Big Picture, I look beyond motorsport to see what other sports are doing in their sustainability journey as well as the issue of sustainability generally. Hopefully this will act as a catalyst for change in the motorsport ecosystem as it demonstrates that in many ways, all sport shares some commonalities that can be tackled with achievable, measurable sustainability practices.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022
  • During the recent Play The Game 2022 Conference, Roger Pielke, author and climate policy expert at the University of Colorado explained how sports’ own carbon footprint is limited. “About 0.3 per cent of all global carbon dioxide emissions come from sport, from park runs, my kids playing in the park to the World Cup and the Olympics. The entire historic emissions from the English Premier League amount to about nine seconds of Chinese emissions. In terms of reducing emissions, it doesn’t really matter what sport does,” Pielke explained. However, Pielke added, sport still has a vital role to play in educating people and promoting policies. “Not policies of sports organisations, but policies that governments can implement, that actually reduce emissions. The path to net-zero goes through replacing fossil fuel infrastructure. This is what sports organisations should be talking about. Not marginal gains from this event or that event,” Pielke said.
  • Following on with how sport can play a vital role in educating people, Sustainability Magazine explains how getting fans on board is where you make real carbon reductions. “Planet League, a platform that “gamifies’ sustainability actions by giving football fans the opportunity to score ‘goals’ for their club and beat rivals by adopting low-carbon behaviours, unveiled its ‘Scope F’ vision in August – a vision that promotes the need for sports organisations to move beyond limiting the climate impact of their own operations and events, and engaging, encouraging and supporting fans to take action in their own lives. Its premise is that sports organisations can “create up to 100x more impact” if they look beyond the control they have in-house and leverage their cultural significance and the tribal nature of fans to facilitate behaviour change.”
  • Football (soccer) organizing body UEFA has released its Circular Economy Guidelines in conjunction with Zero Waste Week and which are part of UEFA’s Football Sustainability Strategy 2030. “UEFA’s definition of circular economy refers to the optimisation of the consumption and life cycle of products, most notably food, packaging and branded items throughout UEFA operations and events. By 2030 UEFA aims to have fully embeded the so-called ‘4R approach’ – built around reducing, reusing, recycling, and recovering – in all operations to minimise the impact of football on the environment and drive resource efficiency and cost savings.”
  • UEFA will have its work cut out for it. French football giants Paris Saint-Germain are facing accusations of failing to take climate change seriously, after coach Christophe Galtier and star Kylian Mbappe mocked a suggestion that they should take the train rather than private planes for short-haul travel. “I think it’s important that they realise what world we live in, that they are aware that there is a climate crisis that is no longer a hypothesis about tomorrow but a reality today,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told reporters while visiting a Paris police station.
  • I have mentioned in this column on multiple occasions how fossil fuel companies like Shell, Total Energies, Aramco and more are working with motorsport governing bodies and teams to make the sport more sustainable with things such as eFuel. But that does not mean I am blind to the other side of the equation which is what they are doing on the fossil fuel side of their business. A recent report explains how big oil companies are spending millions to appear ‘green’ but their investments tell a different story. “Big oil companies are spending millions to portray themselves as taking action on climate change, but their investments and lobbying activities don’t live up to their planet-friendly claims, according to a new report.”

Getting to the Track Sustainably

Getting to the Track Sustainably is my occasional column on developments in sustainable transportation that could have some application to motorsport. Since the majority of carbon emissions come from logistics and transportation, this topic is of utmost importance as motorsport works to make itself more sustainable. Here are some articles you may find of interest.

Sustainable Aviation

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022

Sustainable Ground Transportation

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022
Tesla Semi

Sustainable Marine Transportation

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022

New Sustainable Transportation Tech

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for September 10, 2022
Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.