The key takeaways from Mercedes second annual sustainability report

Henry Valantine
Toto Wolff, Mercedes, walks up the stairs. Canada, June 2022.

Mercedes released their annual sustainability report on Thursday, and they revealed they have exceeded their CO2 reduction targets, alongside moving towards diversifying their workforce.

Lewis Hamilton has been a key driver behind the push for the team and the wider motorsport industry to bring more people from different backgrounds into the profession.

Mercedes say they have gone further than their target of reducing their CO2 output by 50% from their 2018 levels, and have set themselves a new target of being certified as fully carbon neutral by 2030 – alongside other aims for the near future.

From the external report itself, here are some of the key points to take:

  • They aim to become the first global sports team to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which would halve the team’s footprint in air travel.
  • They are working towards implementing their workforce diversity targets, with their ‘Accelerate 25’ programme – aimed at 25% of its new workforce from 2021 to 2025 being from under-represented backgrounds – now 18 months in.
  • As a result, females now make up 15% of their workforce (up from 12% last year), and employees from minority ethnic backgrounds has risen from 3% to 7%.
  • Their team members have raised £75,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK this year through their own charity events, and aim to reach £100,000 by the end of 2022.
  • The Ignite programme, launched in partnership with Hamilton last year, has now issued its first grants to Motorsport UK’s Girls on Track UK and the Royal Academy of Engineering, to push for further diversity and inclusion in British motorsport.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “Motor racing is fuelled by passion. We operate in the fastest, most dynamic sport in the world and we have a responsibility to use that global platform to be more than leaders; we want to be pioneers.

“Over the past few years, we have worked tirelessly to change and better understand the impact we have on the world. We’re fully committed to sustainable high-performance. This is the future for us all.

“Whether deploying our resources to drive technological advances that will help society address the environmental challenges that we face, or committing to increase the diversity of our workforce, and supporting those in need in our local communities, our passion isn’t just in the cars you see on track, it’s across everything we do.

“We are a team of problem solvers; and we’re setting ourselves ambitions on how to become more sustainable across all that we do.

“We are at the start of this journey but have committed to extremely challenging targets because we are all in on the race towards a sustainable tomorrow.

“I am very proud of our team for the achievements that we have made so far and the industry-leading strategies we have committed to in the years ahead.

“What happens on the track is inextricably linked to what happens in the world outside, and that drives the entire team to continually go faster and further.”

Read more: Mercedes convinced Red Bull, Ferrari will lose two tenths with new Technical Directive

Mercedes putting their money where their mouth is

A lot of talk around making Formula 1 sustainable has taken place within the sport, with a key target being making the whole sport carbon neutral by 2030.

But what Mercedes’ report shows is that, while they have not fully met their targets just yet, they have been clear in their aims to help motorsport become a more inclusive environment, and that transparency should be applauded.

Having someone as invested as Hamilton in helping young people from minority ethnic backgrounds into motorsport will help accelerate them forwards, and the role of Hamilton himself in these targets should not be underestimated.

In any case, a team publicly demonstrating its aims to better itself for their local community, workforce and motorsport more broadly is an example others should be following, and quickly.