By Matt Kew, Motorsport

The Envision Virgin Racing outfit has become the first team in Formula E to be given a certified carbon neutral status.

Recognised by the Carbon Trust, the grade accounts for the squad’s operational facilities based at Silverstone and London in addition to the travel for its 40 race staff.

The achievement was announced during the team’s Race Against Climate Change Live summit, which notably featured Arsenal wing back Hector Bellerin as well as United Nations ambassador Aidan Gallagher – best known for his acting role in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.

Envision Virgin Racing was also recognised for its 100% use of renewable energy sources, the installation of electric car charging ports at its Silverstone base, recycling 69% of its total waste and a ban on single-use plastics and red meat at events.

The team’s operations director Jennifer Babington said: “Given there are just a handful of sports teams to have achieved this accolade – and even fewer motorsport teams – I know every single staff member is immensely proud of our achievement.

“We’ve long been regarded as more than just a race team, using our platform to raise awareness of climate change, but we wanted to practice what we preached, as well as to show – and call upon other teams – to follow suit and prove how sport and sustainability can co-exist.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to gain our carbon neutral status, and will to maintain it.”

“Of course, where we’ve been unable to reduce our carbon footprint in the first instance we’ve implemented carbon offsetting.”

This includes the Kenya-based Aqua Clara Water Filter Scheme, which works to purify water rather than clean it via boiling, saving an estimated 2.4-million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

John Newton, associate director at the Carbon Trust, added: “Envision Virgin Racing first started working with the Carbon Trust at the beginning of 2017 and has now taken the appropriate measures to have its own operations certified carbon neutral for all seasons since then.

“This has been strengthened by a commitment to ensure it will maintain this status going forward.

“The influence a sports team has in this space should never be underestimated and by demonstrating their own action on sustainability they can inspire others, whether businesses or fans, to also take action.”

Formula E has also launched its Positively Charged campaign, which will work to reduce inner-city carbon emissions by promoting the greater adoption of EVs and hybrids powertrains.

The championship will also launch a Positive Future programme for its seventh season in 2020-21.

This follows cost-saving measures already announced for the next campaign, which will lead to a reduction in the consumables each team uses per race meeting.

Tyre allocations will be slashed by 25% and FE team garage members will be cut from 20 to 17.

A Logistics Working Group will also be established to improve the efficiency of race travel in FE.

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