McLaren Racing launched its inaugural annual sustainability report on Monday. It is the first of its kind yo be undertaken by a global motorsports company. To view, the report click here.
The landmark report signifies the growing momentum around McLaren’s sustainability strategy, and follows a series of commitments, which so far in 2022 include the appointment of Kim Wilson as the team’s first Director of Sustainability, entry to the 2022/2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, three-star Environmental Accreditation from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) for the ninth year running and signing up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
In 2021 McLaren took important steps towards its environmental goals of building a circular economy, halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040, in line with the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Framework target.
In the year that saw the team announce its entry into Extreme E along with its first-ever female driver Emma Gilmour and first female race engineer, Leena Gade*, McLaren also launched the fully electric McLaren MX Extreme E car at the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At COP26, McLaren announced its commitment to both the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, which includes measuring, reducing and reporting on GHG emissions, and to the UN Race to Zero campaign for a healthy and resilient zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
Mindset is a key theme throughout the report, with McLaren working to promote a net-zero mindset across its entire organisation, empowering people to look for opportunities to reduce waste and incorporate sustainable practices into both day-to-day activities and breakthrough innovations.
In McLaren’s F1 race operations, this sustainability-as-second-nature approach has resulted in significant carbon savings through new infrastructure projects as well as the elimination of single-use plastic trackside, in line with F1’s key target. McLaren welcomes discussions across the sport on ways to promote this mindset amongst fans and influence positive fan behaviours regarding transport and waste on race weekends.
As well as presenting data, case studies, targets and roadmaps for each of McLaren’s four pillars of sustainability, the report presents the team’s emissions figures using 2019 as its baseline reporting year, against which future progress will be measured. Figures for 2020 and 2021 are lower than the baseline but are not regarded as performance indicators due to the impact of covid-19 on the race calendar. McLaren expects its 2022 figures to provide a fairer indication of progress, while taking into account its recent expansion into new sustainability-driven championships.
The 2021 Sustainability Report gives equal focus to McLaren’s social responsibilities as it does its environmental ones. 2021 saw the launch of McLaren Racing Engage, a pioneering strategic alliance with the Women’s Engineering Society, EqualEngineers, The Smallpeice Trust and Creative Access that unlocks STEM pathways and breaks down barriers to motorsport and engineering careers for under-represented groups. In addition to spearheading F1’s We Race As One campaign over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, McLaren rolled out several recruiting initiatives to support its ambitions to reach, recruit and nurture talent wherever it lies. Sharing its 2021 hiring data, the team reports that 43% of new hires were female and 12% of all recruits in 2021 were from ethnic minority backgrounds – early signs that new measures have been effective in setting McLaren on-course to building a stronger and more diverse workforce.
The report emphasises the importance of partnerships and data as two areas that will be central to McLaren’s sustainability ambitions. Strong partnerships were vital to the team’s achievements in 2021, and McLaren advocates for a new age of values-based partnerships, where organisations carve the principles of sustainability into new agreements and commit to providing mutual support in their sustainability practices.
McLaren is also working to ensure that data is as much a part of its sustainability roadmaps as it is its on-track performance and will continue to find opportunities to improve waste and emissions data from across its full value chain. Only through accurate and transparent data can sports teams fully evaluate, address and be accountable for their economic, environmental and social impacts.
This first annual Sustainability Report is the product of a period of reflection and analysis and is an important milestone in McLaren’s sustainability journey.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said:
“The time to praise global brands for promoting sustainability as a core value has passed. By now, sustainable principles should be integral to the foundations of every modern organisation and already driving decisions on growth and innovation. I’m proud that with the release of McLaren Racing’s first-ever sustainability report, we are moving beyond awareness and intention and into a new phase of accelerated action and accountability.
“This report is the product of an organisation-wide effort over many months to gather and analyse data and insights that hold a mirror up to McLaren. It’s not an exercise in self-praise; while there are highlights worth celebrating, our aim is to understand our full range of impacts and chart our progress in the context of a global mission.
“Sustainability doesn’t have a chequered flag. It’s a long journey and we’re working to influence global conversations, partner values and fan activities, while advocating for regulatory change in our industry. The more we push for sustainability within our sport, the greater the opportunity we have to inspire innovations that drive demand for sustainable supply chains and spark positive behavioural change on a global scale.
“I hope we can work together to tread lightly on the planet but boldly on history.”
Kim Wilson, Director of Sustainability, McLaren Racing, said:
Sustainability is a serious topic that requires authentic engagement and collective action. Since joining McLaren in January, my priority has been to develop a report that accurately records our impacts, shows where we are on our sustainability journey and, crucially, lays out a clear picture of the road ahead. It’s not only vital that we detail our own positive strides, but that we’re clear on how we align with industry targets, government regulations and guidance, global frameworks, and of course the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“If we work together as a sport, we can all win, and I particularly welcome conversations around topics such as net-zero targets, carbon accounting methodologies and race logistics.
“The highlights from our 2021 Sustainability Report give me confidence that McLaren is on the right track, but we must of course accelerate our efforts and build viable, data-driven roadmaps that help us work within a global community of changemakers to tackle the challenges ahead.