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Racing towards net zero: Silverstone publishes 2023 sustainability report

June 27 2024

Silverstone Circuit, home of the British Formula One Grand Prix, has published its second annual sustainability report, highlighting its progress and total carbon emissions for 2023. 

Racing towards net zero: Silverstone publishes 2023 sustainability report

The majority of Silverstone’s emissions were scope 3 across all corporate activities and major events, which include the British Grand Prix, MotoGP and Silverstone Festival. Its total emissions amounted to 68,296 tCO2e, with scope 1 and scope 2 making up 1% and 3%, respectively, and scope 3 equating to 96%.

Aside from hosting major sporting weekends, Silverstone also holds business conferences and houses a number of companies on site. The 2023 sustainability report details emissions and efforts made across all areas of the circuit.

In his opening comments, Silverstone’s Head of Business Sustainability Stephane Bazire, said: “I am delighted with the progress we have made throughout 2023. The arrival of 24 EV chargers on site last summer and the switch to 100% renewable energy powering our site were significant moves forward and have been extremely well received by our staff, clients and visitors.

“It is not only the environmental initiatives that have progressed, we have also had some real success stories within our local community, collecting 22T of food surplus donated to the SNVB Community Larders and supporting students with work experience placements, particularly in our catering division, which welcomed 42 students, giving them a great start to their individual careers.”

Breaking it down

Breaking the emissions total down further, emissions from corporate events amounted to 19,615 tCO2e, with scope 1, 2 and 3 totalling 8%, 5% and 87%.

Comparing 2023’s results with 2022 for the corporate segment, scope 2 saw a 23% decline, while scope 1 emissions saw a 171% increase. This is because there were no fugitive emissions (refrigerative and fire extinguishers) reported in 2022.

Dissecting scope 3 emissions, Silverstone witnessed a 34% decrease in emissions from purchased goods and services, and a 70% decrease in fuel-related emissions. However, it saw a 250% increase for use of sold products and a 98% rise in downstream leased assets. In 2023, there was a sharp rise in litres of fuel sold onsite, with 2023’s calculations also including Well-to-Tank emissions for each fuel type. Additionally, tenant electricity consumption increased in 2023 compared to 2022.

"It is a key objective of our Club to ensure Silverstone, as the home of British motorsport, leads the way in terms of sustainable good practice." Peter Digby, Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC)

Across the three major events hosted at Silverstone each year, scope 1 emissions totalled 216.14 tCO2e, while 0 scope 2 emissions were reported thanks to the purchase of renewable electricity from Ecotricity. Scope 3, which Silverstone does not have direct control over, amounted to 48,500.03 tCO23. The majority of this total (79.7%) was attributed to fan travel.

Scope 1 emissions in stationary combustion for the three major events saw a number of increases thanks to a rise in fuel use. The highest contributor was cooking gas usage in the Silverstone Wing for F1, MotoGP and the Silverstone Festival.  For the British F1 Grand Prix, scope 1 stationary combustion emissions increased by 146%; MotoGP by 95%; and the festival by 287%.

Scope 1 mobile combustion witnessed an 855% increase for F1, a 65% decrease for MotoGP and a 5% uptick for the Silverstone Festival. The majority of F1’s total came from petrol tanks used on-site that were not considered in 2022.

The breakdown of scope 3 emissions presents a mixed bag. Across purchased goods and services, the British F1 Grand Prix saw a 121% increase, while MotoGP and the festival witnessed a 53% and 39% decrease, respectively. Energy and fuel-related activities equated to a 39% increase for F1, a 76% decrease for MotoGP and a 38% drop for the festival.

Upstream transportation and distribution saw a significant 5496% increase for F1. This is due to a change from a spend-based method in previous years to multiple methods and increased accuracy in 2023.

In fact, the only area in which the British Formula One Grand Prix made progress was a 97% drop in scope 3 emissions from employee commuting.

The latest report demonstrates a step forward for Silverstone Circuit, with a focus on transparency and making progress. In November, Silverstone achieved ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification, as well as being awarded Gold status by the Greengage ECOsmart accreditation system.

In his opening comments, Peter Digby, Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), said: “As Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), the owner and operator of Silverstone, I was delighted to receive, on behalf of the circuit, our ISO 14001 Environment Management System Certification in December 2023. This was a significant step forward in our journey as we Shift to Zero and true recognition of what has already been achieved by the Silverstone team in such a short period of time.

“It is a key objective of our Club to ensure Silverstone, as the home of British motorsport, leads the way in terms of sustainable good practice. I believe, the progress made in the last 12 months is significant and we will continue to work with our partners to share learnings and, collaboratively, deliver a more sustainable future for our industry.”

You can read more about Silverstone’s sustainability initiatives in our Global Sustainable Sport feature, published last year.

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