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17 March 2012 | Adam Leach
Collaborating with suppliers such as Vodafone, ExxonMobil and AkzoNobel has helped F1 team McLaren take the lead in Formula 1 sustainability.
The team, which will be hoping either Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button take victory at the opening Grand Prix of 2012 in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, has reported a number of initiatives that have helped make it the first carbon neutral team in the sport. In a statement, published this week, it said working with suppliers has played a pivotal role.
For the past three years, McLaren has been conducting an assessment programme to more effectively manage its carbon footprint. As a result it reduced its footprint by 1,500 tonnes, which saw it rank 92nd out of 2,000 companies in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme. In addition to work to make its operations more energy efficient, it achieved its carbon-neutral rating by purchasing carbon credits through the EU trading scheme and providing funding for hydro-electric projects in India and Brazil.
Martin Whitmarsh, principal of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, said: “We’re always looking for new ways to reduce weight, improve efficiency, streamline systems and refine manufacturing processes.”
The team worked closely with a range of suppliers to achieve this. Vodafone, a key sponsor and supplier to the team, has worked to streamline its communications systems and increase energy efficiency, AkzoNobel helped make its paint supplies more environmentally friendly and ExxonMobil provided support to tighten up oil usage.
Highlighting the role of suppliers, Jonathan Neale, managing director at McLaren Racing, said: “Vodafone has streamlined and integrated our entire communications system, AkzoNobel has brought incredible gains in efficiency to our paint process, and the products from ExxonMobil in our machine shop mean our oils and waste are controlled in a much more careful and environmentally friendly way.”
Jim Rees, managing director of AkzoNobel automotive and aerospace, said: “Sustainability is a key part of our strategy and we are proud that our innovative capabilities have contributed to McLaren becoming the first carbon neutral Formula 1 team.”
Last week, Charles Bamlett, head of procurement at Red Bull Racing, revealed the high pressure environment which his team are faced with. He said: “We’re basically trying to build components to, at or above various space levels of quality but whereas aerospace have got months and years to make parts, we have days.”