McLAREN RACING CALLS FOR MORE INDUSTRY COLLABORATION TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY PUSH
McLaren Racing today published its annual Sustainability Report, with CEO Zak Brown calling for greater collaboration across the industry, and for teams to work alongside F1 and the FIA to help create a regulatory framework that better enables investment and innovation in sustainability without compromising performance.
"Only true collaboration will help us drive meaningful change"
Sustainability is incorporated across McLaren’s strategic company goals and is one of five business priorities with a focus on four key pillars: net zero; circular economy; diversity, equity & inclusion; and health and wellbeing. Each pillar aligns with relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The report, which has been developed with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), aims to provide transparent, robust and comprehensive reporting on McLaren’s economic, environmental and social impacts in 2022. Key achievements include:
▪ A 22% reduction of GHG emissions against the 2019 baseline
▪ A 9% reduction in air freight emissions over 2 years as a result of transporting more race equipment by sea freight
▪ Converting lighting at the McLaren Technology Centre to LEDs, saving enough electricity to power 100 average UK homes for a whole year
▪ A 19% reduction in total waste compared to 2021, and zero waste sent to landfill
▪ Cutting single use plastic: all disposable cups, plastic cutlery and sachets were removed from the MTC restaurant, saving almost 400 coffee cups every week
▪ Identifying 56 factory efficiency projects: 8 are completed, 19 are being implemented to cut packaging, waste and cost
Diversity, equity & inclusion
▪ 33% of new starters came from underrepresented backgrounds
▪ Our STEM Ambassadors reached over 4,000 students across 36 events
▪ 200+ managers participated in inclusive recruitment and onboarding training
Health & wellbeing
▪ 6% of the team are now trained as mental health first aiders
▪ 40% of the operations team took part in webinars on health & wellbeing
▪ Launch of our Social Media Community Code to enable fans to engage with McLaren and each other in a respectful, positive and safe environment
The full report can be read here.
While the business has made significant progress year-on-year, one of the challenges it has encountered is that under current financial regulations, costs incurred for sustainability initiatives sit within the cost cap unless they are directly attributable to an existing exclusion. This means that teams frequently need to balance investing in performance vs investing in sustainability within the confines of the cost cap.
McLaren Racing has proactively championed recent discussions with F1, the FIA and other teams to explore the introduction of a set of cost cap exclusions with regards to certain sustainability initiatives, and is hugely supportive of the FIA’s decision to establish a working group for F1 teams to ensure sustainability criteria are incorporated into the 2026 regulations.
While discussions to date have progressed well and led to an initial set of exclusions being introduced – including installing sustainable infrastructure, the auditing and monitoring of competitors’ carbon footprint and certain charitable donations – McLaren would like to see this go further to enable a step change in this space.
McLaren Racing is therefore calling for a number of further changes, including:
▪ A set of comprehensive cost cap exclusions that support investment in sustainability projects and initiatives, without compromising the integrity of the cost cap. This should include:
– Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and training
– Team wellbeing initiatives
– Costs for intern and apprentice programmes to help provide pathways into motorsport and STEM careers
▪ Technical regulations which actively encourage the adoption of more sustainable materials and processes to support the research and development of a fully circular F1 car.
▪ The introduction of clear sustainability criteria into the Concorde Agreement to cover core requirements for race calendars, the paddock and motorhomes.
▪ Clear requirements for promoters and competition organisers to meet certain sustainability standards.
“We strongly believe in the cost cap and wouldn’t want to see anything that undermines its integrity, but current regulations have created some unintended barriers when it comes to investing in sustainability. It’s been fantastic to see so much support from F1 and other teams on this issue, and we’re delighted that the FIA has established a working group to explore next steps.
"But to unlock our sport’s potential to drive the development of more sustainable technologies that can spark positive changes on a global scale, we need a genuine step change. That requires a level playing field so teams can work towards achieving the same targets and no longer need to choose between investing in car performance and investing in sustainability.
"Our sport needs a clear regulatory framework with financial, technical and sporting regulations that better enable us all to innovate and invest in sustainability. We need to find better ways to share expertise and insights across our industry. Only true collaboration will help us drive meaningful change. And if we want to achieve a step change with the new set of 2026 regulations, then those decisions need to be made now.”
“Our mission to ‘set the standard for performance in sport’ applies to sustainability as much as it applies to our on-track performance. And as the only racing team to participate in F1, IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E as well as eSports we have a unique opportunity to foster innovation and cross-learning across our sport to accelerate the changes needed to positively address our economic, environmental and social impacts.
“While as a team, we can point to significant progress in delivering operational improvements across our four sustainability pillars last year, I hope that we are demonstrating through our actions that we are willing to experiment and share our learnings with other teams, our regulators and stakeholders. It is now time for accelerated action and industry-wide collaboration that drives meaningful change in the next few years.”
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