Formula E, ABB and DHL: Making Motorsport Sustainable

Formula E – with technology partner ABB and logistics partner DHL – is pioneering net zero sport and embedding ESG practises into global competition

Formula E, the world’s first all-electric motor racing series, was founded a decade ago with a vision to embed sustainability into a motorsport. 

The organisation’s Season 9 Sustainability Report celebrates an incredible list of successes in ESG, including 10 years of net zero carbon.

“This report shows the power of an organisation that was funded with sustainability as its purpose, embedded in everything from strategic operations to the most tactical operation delivery,” says Julia Pallé, Vice President of Sustainability, Formula E.

Julia Pallé, Vice President of Sustainability, Formula E speaking at EarthFest 2024

“Accelerating sustainable human progress is the mission and the vision of the championship. It's not just my sustainability tagline, this is the whole company's mission,” Julia says. 

“When making critical business decisions, we ask ourselves: ‘Is this going to accelerate human progress in sustainability?’”

The organisation has highlighted 10 key achievements across its 10 years of net zero carbon: 

  • ⁠Maintained rank of #1 ESG Global Sport and Motorsport by three independent organisations in 2024 (GSBS, MSI and SChI™)
  • First sport in the world to achieve net zero carbon (based on the 2020 definition)
  • First sport in the world to have emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative in 2021
  • First sport in the world to align on the international standard for carbon neutrality (PAS 2060) in 2023
  • First motorsport in the world to achieve FIA Three-Star Environmental Accreditation continuously since 2015
  • First motorsport in the world to achieve third party certification for the international standard for sustainability in events (ISO 20121) continuously since 2018
  • ⁠First motorsport in the world to collaborate with UNEP on World Environment Day and International Day for Clean Air for Blue Skies since 2017
  • First ever racing car designed with sustainability KPIs around the principles of circular economy with GEN3 since 2022/2023
  • Biggest global sports partner to UNICEF on all their climate related work (Safe and Healthy Environment Fund) impacting 2.5 million children positively to date since 2021
  • Founder and first motorsport signatory of UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework since 2020.

Embedding ESG into its sustainability strategy is crucial for Formula E, as it commits to leaving a positive impact at every race location. 

The organisation’s FIA Girls on Track initiative has seen a 140% increase and has reached 1,080 girls at universities and schools. 

The series has contributed to UNICEF’s goal of benefiting 2.5 million children and youth through its Safe and Healthy Environment fund. Additionally, it allocated over €110,000 towards community projects in host cities and directly interacted with 13,400 individuals, including children and adults, across 86 universities, schools, charities and community groups.

Electrification driving sustainability

ABB is committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation, making it a perfect fit as a partner in Formula E.

"At ABB, we are working with our customers to help optimise, electrify and decarbonise their operations,” says Karin Lepasoon, ABB’s Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer. 

“The fact this is an approach shared by Formula E is key to our partnership. Now in its seventh season, this partnership brings together two teams that are pushing the boundaries of technology to support the shift to e-mobility and the race to a low carbon society. It allows us to use the competitive race environment as a testbed to develop and showcase technologies which drive progress to ultimately create a more sustainable future for us all.”

“The partnership with ABB is fundamental for us – we share ambition and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of sustainability and elevating the importance of electrification,” explains Julia. 

“We are both pioneers in our own industries and ABB supports us with all the technology around the championship, especially when it comes to all the charging infrastructure.”

DHL powers sustainable logistics

Formula E is celebrating 41% decrease in freight carbon emissions compared to Season 5 and 23% decrease year on year from calendar optimisation and biofuels thanks to the partnership with DHL.

The series has chosen to include Scope 3 emissions in its science-based target commitments, and working with DHL it has managed to decrease freight related emissions by 41% in comparison to season five.

For DHL, this includes working closely with the Formula E team to optimise the calendar, as well as exploring fuel usage and ensuring that road freight is powered by electricity or second generation biofuel that comes from waste and is certified as renewable energy. 

“DHL plays such a pivotal role for us in sustainability because the carbon footprint related to our footprint for freight is between 70 and 75%,” says Julia. 

“DHL has been absolutely fantastic in being very hands-on in the challenge that we're facing and trying to test and learn and create opportunities.”

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