Mercedes F1 to use SAF to cut carbon footprint

Racing outfit claims it is the first global sports team to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Mercedes F1 to use SAF to cut carbon footprint

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  • Aviation accounts for more than 25% of Mercedes’ projected carbon footprint
  • Team aiming to be verified net zero by 2030

The Mercedes Formula One team is planning to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in a bid to reduce its CO2 emissions.

Mercedes said the move is the first from a global sports team, as well as forming part of its drive to cut its emissions and support the goal to become science based targets initiative (SBTi) verified net zero by 2030.

SAF is renewable or waste-derived aviation fuel, an emerging technology recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to play a major role in reducing future international aviation emissions.

Aviation currently accounts for more than one quarter of the Mercedes team’s entire projected carbon footprint.

The racing outfit plans to make SAF a significant component of the team’s sustainability strategy, with the purchase of the fuel to be used for Mercedes’ indirect ‘scope 3’ aviation emissions, which are excluded from the Formula One cost cap. This includes flights to Grand Prix locations and other business air travel.

The team added that the use of SAF means it will be able to achieve close to 50 per cent reduction in its personnel air travel footprint. It will also continue to offset remaining aviation carbon emissions with Gold Standard (GS) offsets while Mercedes works with the industry to scale SAF availability.

The GS is a voluntary carbon offset programme focused on progressing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensuring that project’s benefit their neighbouring communities.

SAF production and availability are currently limited, but Mercedes insists the opportunity is ‘immense’. The team aims to use its global platform to support the development and growth of the SAF market, in addition to showcasing the fuel’s potential and prove to other industries how great an impact it can have.

“Sustainable Aviation Fuel has the potential to transform the way we travel and the impact that we have on the environment,” said Mercedes team principal and chief executive Toto Wolff.

“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.”