Motorsport can drive change in environmental sustainability
Motorsport can drive change in environmental sustainability. That was the message that was shared among a group of experts today at the Autosport International Business Forum as Motorsport UK hosted the Can Motorsport Ever Be Fully Sustainable? panel session.
Motorsport UK launched its Sustainability Strategy in 2021 and welcomed a host of experts to discuss activities and initiatives ongoing within the industry.
Motorsport presenter Steph Wentworth was joined on stage at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham by:
- Jessica Runicles, Head of Sustainability, Motorsport UK
- Iona Neilson, Senior Sustainability Manager, Formula E
- Dr. Cristiana Pace, Founder and CEO, Enovation Consulting Ltd
- Stephane Bazire, Head of Business Sustainability, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
Wentworth kicked off the session by asking what makes the panelists optimistic when it comes to facing the challenge of environmental sustainability. Runicles responded by praising the proactivity of the motorsport community, stating, “A lot of people have come to Motorsport UK to discuss sustainability which shows there’s a lot of appetite to help. That will enable the community to drive greater change.”
Neilson added that many sports are now starting to realise the potential of sustainability and emphasised how Formula E was the first sport to be founded with a net zero carbon footprint from inception.
Both Bazire and Pace were united by common optimism around the sharing of knowledge within the motorsport community.
Pace said, “We’ve done the sport for 100 years and it has always been the same way, but it is now about giving people the knowledge, as motorsport does its bit to be more sustainable and open up new technologies.”
Bazire expanded, stating, ‘‘We shouldn’t be afraid [of sustainability] – it goes back to education and knowledge, it is not that complicated. There are a lot of common sense measures that we might do at home that can be replicated.” Bazire cited Silverstone’s use of solar panels as an example, with the iconic circuit committing to expand its renewable energy sources
Many can feel daunted when considering how to start their sustainability journey, a topic that Wentworth put to the panelists in asking what barriers exist that either prevent or slow progress for motorsport to be more sustainable.
Runicles responded directly, citing the progress that has been made over the past few years by the motorsport community. She continued by acknowledging that while implementing new measures can be difficult, it is also a valuable opportunity for clubs to engage with different audiences who want to become a part of a more sustainable sport. She also mentioned the work being undertaken by Motorsport UK to help clubs on their sustainability journeys, citing the governing body’s plans to launch a free carbon calculator tool for all clubs in Spring 2023.
Neilson agreed that new audiences are desiring a more sustainable sport, referencing the success of Formula E since its origins in 2014, as the all-electric series now looks ahead to its ninth season that will feature its third generation car.
To find out more about Motorsport UK’s approach to environmental sustainability visit our website: https://www.motorsportuk.org/about-us/environmental-sustainability/