How Envision Racing will represent the world of sport at COP28
The long-anticipated COP28 kicks off today, in an event that will see 70,000 delegates and thousands of scientists, journalists, activists, and representatives from the cultural sectors come together in Dubai for almost two weeks of debate and activity.
But only one sports team will have a permanent physical presence in the summit’s Blue Zone, where high-level negotiations and official events take place.
Formula E World Champions Envision Racing will use their position at the conference to showcase their world-first ‘Recover E’ car, and showcasing the power of sport to passing world leaders.
Envision to represent sport in the Blue Zone
As Global Sustainable Sport reported last week, a number of sports organisations are due to represent the industry at the world’s most famous climate conference.
Organisations including Extreme Hangout, Formula E, SailGP and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) will be taking part in talks, panels, and collaborations for the duration of the twelve-day event.
Sports organisations are set to contribute to debates on topics including clean mobility, protecting nature, and emissions reductions, all of which are also high on the agenda for attending politicians and delegates.
Building on these contributions from the industry, Envision Racing will be the only sports team with a physical presence in the Blue Zone, with a prime placement in the south concourse between the negotiating plenary and the media zone.
Envision’s display will feature its ‘Recover E’ car, which is ‘the world’s first full-sized, driveable Formula E car made entirely of electronic waste’.
The car is the result of a brand initiative that Envision has been running for the past twelve months as part of its Race Against Climate Change program.
‘The Recover E campaign was launched to highlight the global electronic waste (e-waste) crisis and to accelerate a circular economy,’ says Daniel Matson, Head of Marketing & Communications at Envision Racing.
During the campaign, Envision ran e-waste workshops with children in schools and challenged young people around the world to create their own mini formula e cars using e-waste from home through a design competition in partnership with Cartoon Network, Warner Bros and BBC Blue Peter.
‘Uniquely the team’s purpose is to inspire generations to tackle climate change and accelerate the transition to e-mobility and renewable energy. Through our Race Against Climate Change program we engage and mobilise policy makers, media, fans and wider audiences in environmental action each year,’ says Matson
In July, Envision Racing unveiled its fully driveable, electric race car made entirely from discarded consumer tech on primetime BBC’s The One Show.
‘The car is made up of tens of thousands of iPhones, vapes, wires, cables, iPads, VR headsets, games consoles and much more donated by young people and online tech retailer Music Magpie.
Now this record-breaking car is at COP28, and Envision Racing hope to use its presence to raise awareness of the proliferation of e-waste around the world, as well as the importance and potential of taking a circular economy approach to re-using and recycling old electrical products.
The team have stated that the Recover E demonstration will emphasise ‘the transformative influence of recycling millions of Lithium batteries embedded in devices, effectively curbing the demand for resource-intensive mining while emboldening a circular economy vision.’
At the same time, the team will also be hoping to promote electric mobility, and will have a racing simulator on the stand alongside the car. The team argue that the battery technology being developed by Formula E has the potential to ‘hugely accelerate the transition to all forms of e-mobility’.
Beyond the stand, Envision will also be present at other events during the conference.
Managing Director and CTO Sylvain Filippi will take part in Formula E’s Change Accelerated Live Panel Discussion on 6thDecember, while later in the day Envision Racing driver Alice Powell will speak alongside UK Government’s Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper.
Powell will also speak at the Accelerating to Zero Coalition and UK Government Networking Reception, Formula E’s Future of Mobility session, and the UN Sport for Climate Action event.
The Envision Team are also gearing up to officially unveil its car livery for its 10th season on 8th December, in partnership with a world-leading climate scientist.
Envision Racing’s green track record
Envision Racing’s plans for COP28 build on a long track record of climate action and collaboration with the United Nations and the UK Government.
Envision Racing were the first and only sports team to officially partner with UN COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, where they had physical exhibits across both zones, and collaborated with the presidency pre-event as well as on their legacy programme.
As the so-called ‘greenest team on the greenest grid’ and founding signatories to the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework, Envision has always put climate action at the heart of its work.
The power of sport
By building on partnerships at government and policy level, and showcasing the technology at the heart of electric racing, Envision Racing are bridging the gap between the sport industry and the world beyond.
Matson believes that Envision, and electric racing, are well-placed to take on this role.
‘Sport has the power to be one of the most influential drivers of climate action, the team alone launched an environmental fan hub that has generated 250,000 individual climate pledges from fans, and the legacy of our partnership with COP26 lobbying governments to sign up to the Zero Emission Vehicle Declaration act show the impact sport can have,’ says Matson. ‘Sport can play a key role in raising awareness, influencing behaviours and changing attitudes – as well as developing new technology and high-impact solutions for reducing emissions as we demonstrate in Formula E.’
With a wider, younger audience and a genuine commitment to environmental sustainability, sports like Formula E can help organisations like the UN or national governments to find new ways of communicating on issues like waste, circular economy, electric mobility, and clean energy.
‘It’s important for the team and sport generally to have a strong presence at COP. We are here to raise awareness of e-waste and the benefits of e-mobility, but also to advocate for greater environmental responsibility in the sporting community,’ says Matson
COP events have often been criticised for greenwashing, and this year’s edition has faced high level of scrutiny. COP28’s president, Sultan Al Jaber, is also chief executive of the state-owned oil company Adnoc, and has denied reports that he used his position at COP28 to sign oil deals with other governments.
COP events can also often be difficult to engage with, with high-level policy discussions and negotiations challenging to translate for audiences not yet fully engaged in climate issues.
But sport has the opportunity to break through these issues and highlight important topics, prompting engagement from wider audiences.
Matson says that the Envision team are proud to be taking on this role once more, two years on from their work with COP26.
‘We’re really proud to be here, and to be flying the flag for sport again,’ he says.