Formula E

Sustainability study: Formula E in front for the 3rd time, Extreme E on the podium

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

In the third edition of the Sustainable Championship Index (SChI), the Formula E World Championship is the only one of the 106 motorsport championships analysed worldwide to land in the highest category. The electric championship, which was founded in 2014, thus remains the global pioneer among racing series in terms of sustainability. Behind Formula 1, Extreme E is once again in third place, which the championship shares with MotoGP.

The British company Enovation Consulting has published the results of a new study in which the sustainability of racing series was assessed on the basis of 25 criteria. These were determined on the basis of guidelines and models from the UN, EU and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The criteria are divided into six classes: Certifications, accreditations and awards, environmental performance, social performance, commitment and partnerships, and the sustainability approach. The database consists exclusively of data collected from publications by the racing series in the period from January to November 2023.

Obviously, compared to the previous year, many racing series have made a leap forward. While there were 25 racing series in the previous year that did not score a single point, the number has now fallen to 20. 26 series increased their result compared to 2022. The number of series that landed in the lowest category fell from 68 to 58. However, 26 of them were only a single point short of moving up to the next higher category.

Only four of the 106 series have certification - compared to the three series last year, the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli North America was added. This is the certification for sustainable event management in accordance with ISO 20121, the first time a racing series has had its quality management certified. However, only ten series measure their CO2 footprint at all. 13 racing series have environmental accreditation from the FIA or an environmental award from the FIM. Three championships have received other relevant awards.

In the area of environmental performance, there were once again significantly more racing series that collected points: 66 (+1) each scored in the criteria of waste management and use of natural resources, and 64 (+2) in the areas of transport and mobility. Many racing series also improved in the area of social performance compared to the previous year. Most race series, namely 32 (+5), scored well in the area of accessibility. In 2021, the first edition of the study, there were only 19.

Partnerships in the area of sustainability were entered into by 14 racing series (+1). 62 motorsport series (+2) have a code of ethics, guidelines or are subject to obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

85 out of 100 possible points: Formula E is the clear trendsetter

For the third time in a row, Formula E received the highest score of all racing series. With 85 out of a possible 100 points, it is the only championship to make it into the highest of five results categories. The electric series, which has already announced innovations for its 2024 world championship season that could ensure an even better result in the coming year, scored points in 21 of the 25 criteria: The cooperation with the FIA initiative "Girls on Track" will be extended to all events, and a representative of the programme will also take part in every podium ceremony.

Formula 1 is once again in second place, even closing the gap to Formula E by one point. F1 improved significantly in the area of shareholder involvement and partnerships, along with its efforts to organise fully sustainable events by 2025. Disposable plastic should then no longer be used at the racetracks. Third place is once again shared by Extreme E and MotoGP. While the SUV electric series is particularly emphasised for getting more than 1,000 fans to make sustainability pledges with the "Count Us In" challenge, while the motorbike series entered into partnerships to support reforestation projects, among other things.

"This year's Sustainable Championships Index clearly demonstrates the motorsport industry's ongoing commitment to improving its sustainability practices and being accountable through transparent and public disclosure of its work," said Dr. Cristiana Pace, founder of Enovation Consulting. "With two new championships joining the index and ten championships moving from the (lowest) 'Low-Performance' category to the 'Medium-Low' category in just one year, we clearly see the benefit of creating a system to disclose and categorise the ESG practices of motorsport stakeholders."

Julia Palle: "Sustainability is a core of our championship"

"We are proud to keep raising the bar in the global standard for sustainability in sport," explains Julia Palle, Vice President of Sustainability at Formula E. "Sustainability has been at the core of our championship since its inception, and we are determined to build on our commitment and capabilities year after year. Topping the charts once again reinforces that entertainment and sustainability can coexist without compromise."

"It is great for Extreme E to be recognised as a leader in sustainable motorsport by the Sustainable Championship Index," said Ali Russell, Managing Director of Extreme E. "Environmental responsibility within motorsport is now ever crucial, and as a series we will keep pushing the boundaries to deliver an exciting racing product, while still conscious of our sustainability efforts and raising awareness of the climate crisis."

The SChI was developed by British company Enovation Consulting together with Paolo Taticchi, Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at University College London. According to Enovation Consulting, it is "the only global performance system that measures and reports on published sustainability practices against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the ESG Framework".

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