McLaren racing team (via McLaren)
We all know that money does not grow on trees, but the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team seems to suggest that money can at least offset their carbon footprint and save some trees.
In December 2010, the McLaren F1 team achieved the Carbon Trust Standard. Now, a year later, they have been certified as the first carbon neutral F1 racing team. To do this, McLaren took steps to decreased CO2 emissions as well as to offset their remaining carbon footprint.
First, they installed sensors in their headquarter offices to better control air conditioning and lighting. These control systems now provide lighting and A/C only when someone is in the room.
Outside the office, McLaren also equipped its massive transportation fleet, used to move equipment and personnel around the world, with sensors that read out the efficiency of each vehicle. Running at max efficiency prevents wasting fuel and releasing excess CO2. They have also trained their drivers in safer and more efficient driving techniques.
These measures combined, are estimated to keep 1500 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere annually (a typical household will release about 10 tons of carbon per year). However, these only accounts for 8.6% of the carbon emission, which is not surprising taking into account the nature of their business. To neutralize the other 91.4%, McLaren has taken a bureaucratic and monetary approach. They have chosen to offset the rest of their carbon footprint by buying carbon credits and investing in hydroelectric power plants in India and Brazil.
These types of actions have been recognized in the UK, where the company is based. The British government’s CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme ranked McLaren 92nd in a list of 2000 companies trying to become carbon efficient. However, not much of a race can be seen among automotive companies to be first on this list, as the McLaren F-1 teams ranked first among them. Regardless, any action helps. Lets just hope it is not a reason to pump the breaks on further reduction of carbon emissions.