Sport has a crucial role to play in tackling the climate emergency. With its vast number of fans around the world, it has the ability to be one of the most influential drivers of climate action. There is an opportunity and responsibility for sport and brands to leverage their own unique power of inspiration for the benefit of people and planet. There are already successful examples of uniting fans on social issues – for example, anti-racism through football’s Kick it Out campaign and the empowerment of women and girls via Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative – and we know that fans want to help keep our planet habitable.
Climate innovation is built into Formula E. The electric equivalent to Formula 1, our racing series acts as a competitive platform to test and develop the latest electric vehicle technology. Over 225 million global viewers tuned in to watch our latest season and at Envision Racing we are helping them get involved beyond the track too.
We were set up to tackle the climate emergency; our team’s aim is to speed up the mass adoption of e-mobility and accelerate the transition to secure and affordable renewable energy. We showcase the power and excitement of high-performance electric racing on the streets in the world’s greatest cities and were proud to become the Formula E World Champions last season. Critically, we also educate our fans on environmental issues and are driving mass behaviour change through our Race Against Climate Change™ program.
Recover E campaign
Over the last year we have been raising public awareness around e-waste, which is discarded electrical devices, like mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players. Described by the World Health Organisation as the ‘next growing threat to the environment’, annual electronic waste production is on track to reach a staggering 75 million tonnes globally by 2030.
The fundamental message of our global Recover E campaign was that an electric future must go hand-in-hand with a zero-waste approach to the planet’s precious resources. Launched in April, it had two components: a global competition for children and young people and an extraordinary world first, the construction of a full-sized and driveable Formula E racing car made from discarded tech.
The Recover-E-Waste to Race competition tasked children and young people with building mini racing cars from e-waste. A microsite featured instructions and showcased winners, while providing educational information about environmental impacts. Launched at Manchester City Council’s Climate Champions event and featuring a comprehensive school’s engagement programme, the campaign also had two high profile and unpaid media partnerships.
One was with Cartoon Network, Warner Bros – Discovery’s number one animated series network – to engage children and young people on the e-waste issue through joint marketing campaigns, promotions and gamification. The other was with CBBC’s flagship show, Blue Peter.
A further collaboration with pro-electrical-recycling not-for-profit Material Focus gave the campaign credibility in the form of an expert voice. As the leading independent organisation on e-waste, it ensured scientific accuracy across all our communications.
The racing car made from e-waste was previewed on BBC One Show and revealed to the world’s media on track at the ExCeL event centre, on the 28 July, the eve of the 2023 London E-prix. The launch formed part of Envision Racing’s Race Against Climate Change Live event, which featured talks by figures from sport, business, entertainment and science – including environmental icon Dr. Jane Goodall. The car will also be on display at COP28, running from 30 November until 12 December 2023, in Dubai, the UAE.
Alongside these two core activities, a new e-waste category was introduced to Envision Racing’s pre-existing environmental action hub, where fans can make a lifestyle pledge to help the planet. Forming part of our wider Race against Climate Change programme, it plants a mangrove tree for every pledge made.
With people and planet in crisis, we urgently need action to become part of the everyday, and that means embedding it in our culture through positive, imaginative initiatives. Fans and supporters care – it is up to us as the sports teams and event organisers to show them how to get involved and the difference it will make to not just to themselves and their communities, but to the very future of the sport they love.