For the first time ever, Mount Panorama will host a carbon neutral event when the 2021 Challenge Bathurst takes place next month.
To encourage a more sustainable future for Australian motorsport, Challenge Bathurst organisers, along with partners Accelerate Events and the Bathurst Regional Council have enlisted Greenfleet to get involved with the event.
Greenfleet is an Australian not-for-profit environmental organisation that helps individuals, communities and companies act in mitigating the impacts of climate change, as well as restoring ecosystems through planting bio-diverse native forests in Australia and New Zealand.
The partnership will see Greenfleet plant trees at the iconic circuit during the event to help offset carbon and car emissions and will see the event reach carbon neutrality, which is an immediate and cost-effective way for motorsport to help tackle the growing global issue of climate change.
More than 400 cars and 600 Motorsport Australia volunteer officials and licenced competitors are expected to attend the four-day regularity and supersprint event, making the partnership an easy decision for Challenge Bathurst organisers to make.
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“The rationale is that carbon offsetting is an immediate and cost-effective way to take responsibility for the environmental impact of the Challenge Bathurst Event,” event organiser Greg Evans explained.
“While it’s hard to fundamentally change the amount of carbon emissions, due to the engine type of most cars suitable for Challenge Bathurst, it’s easy to offset the emissions by partnering with an organisation like Greenfleet.
“However, this is also an emotional decision based on our competitor’s desire to do what they love and offset the impact so we can all keep doing this for the next 30 years and more.
“We don’t have to wait until 2050 to start being ‘net zero’ today. When I realised it cost five dollars a competitor to be net zero it’s really a no-brainer.
"Hopefully the profile of our event will encourage others to ‘Google’ organisations like Greenfleet and make their own call.”
With Motorsport Australia already working towards a sustainable future, as well as holding the highest level of recognition in the FIA's Environmental Accreditation Framework, CEO Eugene Arocca praised the event for teaming up with Greenfleet.
“Challenge Bathurst and the Bathurst Regional Council should be congratulated for their foresight and environmentally responsible approach to running this amazing event,” Arocca said.
“This is a terrific initiative and has the full support of everyone at Motorsport Australia. Sustainability and the environment will need to be front of mind for all of us involved in motorsport as we head into the future, utilising the many innovative and brilliant minds who work in the industry.
“Motorsport Australia’s latest Strategic Plan refresh outlines our desire to make the environment and sustainability a priority in our short and long term future.
“We are eager to see similar initiatives rolled out across the country and will work hard to reduce the sport’s overall footprint. This is certainly a significant area of opportunity for the motorsport industry.”
This year’s Challenge Bathurst won’t be the first time Greenfleet has worked alongside the automotive industry after its foundation in 1997.
In 2000, Founder Henry O’Cleary teamed up with Peter Brock, former Australian Grand Prix promoter Ron Walker and the RACV to promote fund tree planting towards fleet and individual car owners in a bid to offset car emissions.
Since its inauguration, Gleenfleet has planted almost 10 million trees across 500 forests Australia and New Zealand and Greenfleet CEO Wayne Wescott was looking forward to once again spreading its message within the motorsport industry.
“There is a critical need to take action on climate change and we all have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet. However, completely reducing your carbon footprint isn’t easy,” Wescott said.
“People come to Greenfleet because they want to take practical climate action, and that’s what we help them do.
“We commend Challenge Bathurst on the steps they are taking to reposition motorsport for a changing climate.”
The 2021 Challenge Bathurst takes place at Mount Panorama on 11-14 November.