The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship became the first global sport to be certified with a net zero carbon footprint from inception back in 2020, having invested in certified climate-protecting projects in all race markets to offset emissions from every season of electric racing.
As a signatory of, and following the UN Climate Neutral Now initiative, Formula E manages its carbon footprint through three key steps: effective measurement of carbon output, prioritising reducing of the championship footprint and offsetting remaining unavoidable emissions. On UK Net Zero Week, here's how Formula E does it.
Since its inaugural season, Formula E has worked with carbon footprint experts Quantis to carry out a lifecycle assessment, which is used to monitor and calculate the championship’s carbon footprint.
A lifecycle assessment is a tool used to holistically assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of the entire championship. Formula E monitors these impacts each race and reports them each season in order to identify opportunities to make further improvements in operations and planning.
Our overall Season 7 emissions: 19,600 t CO2 -eq. versus 20,000 t CO2 -eq. in Season 6
While the pandemic has impacted the last two seasons, reducing our total emissions significantly, Formula E has still been able to make a considerable impact in reducing overall emissions in Season 7 versus Season 6 despite a significant increase in the number of races and locations.
Formula E’s Sustainability Programme is based on three pillars; delivering sustainable events, making a meaningful positive impact in each host city, and using our global platform to promote electric cars and the part they’ll play in addressing air pollution.
From optimising transportation and logistics, to extending end-of-life options for lithium-ion battery cells and cutting out single-use plastics on site, the championship’s drive for sustainable practices has led to Formula E becoming the first and only category in motorsport to receive third-party ISO 20121 certification – the international standard for sustainability in events.
“Formula E was created with the primary purpose to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and promote sustainable practice, raising awareness of the benefits to driving electric and how clean mobility can counteract climate change" said Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director at Formula E, on the championship's renewal of ISO 20121 certification.
"We deliver events with sustainability at the forefront of our mind and the certification shows our commitment to this cause and acts as a reminder of what we have achieved and also our ambition to continue to innovate in this area”.
Some examples of how we have reduced the overall footprint of the series include:
- Freight: optimisation of the calendar, having multiple sea-freight sets to cover certain continents, using a multi-modal approach with road/sea/rail prioritised over air where possible, only freighting race-critical items and completing freight inventory audits to understand what can be sourced locally instead.
- Suppliers: working directly with suppliers to ensure low impact solutions including sourcing food and beverages locally and integrating sustainability into the construction, operation and content of our dedicated fan zone - the Allianz E-Village.
- Transport: we do not provide public parking at our events to encourage the use of public, sustainable and shared transportation. Only race-critical staff travel to the events to reduce unnecessary attendance and we prioritise rail services for our European races.
- Waste: removal of single-use plastic bottles on site and the introduction of reusable receptacles and Allianz Hydration Stations to reduce waste produced on site
Ultimately, the championship's footprint reduction initiatives help ensure that Formula E is able to operate at the lowest possible unavoidable emissions level.
The series has then directed efforts towards offsetting these emissions with sustainable projects that will not only benefit the local economies and people in the locations we race in around the world, but also help to bring down global CO2 emissions – making a broader, positive change.
Unavoidable emissions from the past seasons have all been offset through investment exclusively in projects certified according to the strict requirements of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and/or the Gold Standard (GS), which all follow the regulations outlined in the Kyoto Protocol by the UN Climate Change Secretariat.
We make sure to target our focus on the regions that have hosted Formula E races to maximise the benefits for our host locations, carefully selecting initiatives based on their social and/or ecological contributions. From biogas energy generation in China, to landfill gas energy generation in Mexico and wind power energy generation in Morocco, the impact of these projects reaches far beyond the environmental benefits.
Gen3: Net zero by design
Formula E creates an environment where high performance and sustainability powerfully co-exist. Leading experts in sustainability at the FIA and Formula E worked closely with engineers throughout the development process to ensure the Gen3 sets the benchmark for sustainability in high performance racing cars.
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The Gen3 is the first formula car aligned to Life Cycle Thinking with a clear path towards second life and end of life for all tyres, broken parts and battery cells. It is net zero carbon by design:
- The Gen3 will be net zero carbon, maintaining the championship’s status as the first sport to be certified as net-zero carbon since inception.
- All carbon fibre broken parts will be recycled by an innovative process from the aviation and aerospace industry into new fibres reusable for other applications
- A pioneering process will deliver 26% sustainable materials into the composition of tyres
- The Gen3 is powered by electric motors that are substantially more efficient than ICEs as they can convert over 90% of the electrical energy into mechanical energy (motion) compared to approx. 40% in high efficiency ICEs
- All suppliers are held to strict sustainability KPIs, notably achieving FIA 3* Environmental Accreditation certification by Season 9
To read more about the certified offsetting projects Formula E has invested in, click on the locations below. All of our projects are located in regional proximity to current and previous races, including many race locations on our race calendar.