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F1 | Toto Wolff on Mercedes Sustainable Aviation Fuel investment: “If we must fly, then we need to find a better way to do so”

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team announced today that they are to become the first global sports team to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

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F1 |  Toto Wolff on Mercedes Sustainable Aviation Fuel investment: “If we must fly, then we need to find a better way to do so”
Fuente imagen: @MercedesAMGF1

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS are leading the way towards a cleaner and healthier future, by becoming the first ever global sports team to invest in SAF biofuel used by the aviation industry. The team pledged today:

'The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team is delighted to announce our commitment to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel, becoming the first global sports team to do so, as part of our drive to further reduce our CO2 emissions and our ambition to become SBTi-verified Net Zero by 2030.'

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, explained why he feels it’s an important step to take as a team, and on a personal level: 

“Sustainable Aviation Fuel has the potential to transform the way we travel and the impact that we have on the environment. This is a topic that I think about a great deal personally as well as professionally. I fly a lot; the team flies a lot. If we must fly, then we need to find a better way to do so and SAF is the best solution available to the aviation industry right now. We aim to be on the cutting edge of change, using our global motorsport platform as a model for a more sustainable and diversified future.” 

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is a fairly recent concept, that is currently being used to power aircraft around the world. It has an 80% reduced carbon emission footprint to traditional jet fuel and is produced from used cooking oil and animal waste fat, which are considered a sustainable feedstock. Global companies who gain from utilising the aviation industry must surely look at their responsibility to help find solutions.

Alice Ashpitel, Sustainability & Environmental Manager at the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, commented: 

“Our aim is to embed sustainability in every decision we make and action we take. We believe that Sustainable Aviation Fuel can change the way that sports and businesses more generally, as some of the biggest users of aviation, can exert a positive influence on the outside world. We hope to play a leading role in showcasing what’s possible with SAF and prove to other industries what can be achieved.” 

The Mercedes team went onto say:

‘While current SAF production and availability are limited, the opportunity is immense. We hope that using our powerful global platform to support the development and growth of the SAF market will showcase SAF’s potential and prove to other industries how great an impact it can have. Through our commitment, we hope to encourage others to do the same, driving further investment in SAF production.’

Stating that, ‘Our Annual Sustainability Report will be published in August 2022, containing further information on the team’s achievements, commitments, and our strategy to reach SBTi-verified Net Zero,’ the key points Mercedes have highlighted in today’s announcement are:

  • Ground-breaking investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel, opening a new phase of sustainability commitments for the team.
  • Industry-leading approach to reducing our Scope 3 aviation carbon footprint in line with science- based targets, demonstrating the power of technology to enable our journey to Net Zero.
  • A key pillar of our commitment to achieve 50% reduction of Scope 3 emissions by 2026 and to reach Net Zero by 2030. 
  • Our operations have been carbon neutral since 2020, using Gold Standard carbon offsets provided by MyClimate, supporting wind and solar projects in Turkey and Dominican Republic.
  • We achieved a 98% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 footprint between 2018 and 2021.
  • Our 50% emissions reduction target in Scope 1, 2 and partial Scope 3 (by 2022 from 2018
    baseline) has been exceeded. We achieved a 58% emissions reduction by 2021.
  • First public sustainability report published in August 2021 including our CO2 footprint details.
  • Achieved and maintained externally verified certifications: ISO14001, FIA 3*Accreditation.
  • First sports team to commit to setting a Science Based Target and SBTi Net Zero Standard in
    November 2021. 

Mercedes primary sponsor, Petronas, have already committed to achieve, ‘Net zero carbon emissions by 2050.’ The President & Group CEO, of the Malaysian oil and gas company, Tenku Muhammad Taufik, has previously stated:

“We are making this commitment to make a positive change — not only to ride the energy transition — but because a fundamental shift is needed and the organisation wants to be part of the solution, for the world that yearns for a path towards a more sustainable future." 

Motorsport has previously been accused of acting without morals when it comes to its environmental impact. Though in general, Formula 1 has been mindful, with altering the specs of the cars over the years. The switch from V8 engines to turbo charged V6 engines was implemented almost a decade ago now.

However, running the cars over test and race sessions only makes up for a small percentage of emissions, compared to the transportation of the equipment, cars, and team personnel. And, with the increase of races per season, F1 is now more than ever, under pressure to reevaluate how it operates and what impact on the environment it’s making.

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