Formula 1 Aims to Be Carbon Neutral by 2030

The racing circuit says its sustainability plan is "ambitious, yet achievable."

More and more business models are incorporating sustainability plans with actual teeth. That’s because the more we learn about climate change, the scarier it becomes, and many organizations are smart enough to either truly care, or care about the potential business implications of doing nothing.

But cutting carbon is hardest for those businesses that produce a lot of it, which is why some are responding with skepticism to the recent announcement by Formula 1 racing that it plans to reach a goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030.

F1 is calling its sustainability plan “ambitious, yet achievable,” and its blueprint begins with an overview of the volume of emissions behind the global racing circuit. No surprise, the organization is kicking out a lot of C02 – about 256,000 tons in 2019. Producing the same amount by driving a car, for example, would mean a trip that uses 28 million gallons of fuel.

But the race itself isn’t the biggest problem, says F1: 45% of its emissions are related to “logistics” for this traveling event and the movement of equipment from place to place. It’s not uncommon for the schedule to cross an ocean and then zip right back, which is why F1 says part of its plan will be to address more efficient travel. Other areas of focus will include an elimination of single-use plastics at events, renewably powered factories and team offices, and taking advantage of carbon sequestration programs.

It all sounds like a detailed, if ambitious, start, though some wonder whether the sport itself can withstand such a dramatic shift, especially as it yields to net zero carbon-powered race cars.

As Jalopnik’s Elizabeth Blackstock points out, there are more challenges that become wrapped up within this one, including the amount of money petroleum brands contribute to the sport through sponsorships and advertising.

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