Carbon Offsetting Makes for ‘Green’ TT

The DfE is taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of this year’s TT with the appointment of a strategic partner, Pozitive Group. 

The partnership will result in, what the gov says, the first carbon-neutral TT as island-based Pozitive Group has committed to funding a carbon offsetting programme that will cover the total emissions created by the TT including international visitor travel.

The full carbon impact is estimated to be around 5,000 tonnes of carbon based on data from 2019, however, the total 2022 emissions will be calculated post-event using a number of verified data sources, including the official race reports to capture racing emissions and the statistics from the 2022 TT Visitor Survey to calculate the impact of attendees, including travel data. Positize Group will also carry out a broader on-event assessment of any additional factors that may contribute to the final carbon emissions calculation.

Really?

Naturally, we had similar misgivings about this as many of our readers will. 

How much is this costing taxpayers? Well, the gov says nothing, a spokesperson for DfE said the Pozitive Group ‘will be funding the full cost of the offsetting programme’.

What is going to happen? Slightly less clear, but the DfE said the company has ‘identified internationally recognised programmes that will support improving communities, sustaining wildlife and the environments in which they inhabit’.

What Else?

Banning the use of single-use plastic water bottles by all caterers and hospitality suppliers. Instead, Isle of Man based AB Project will be supplying reusable aluminium bottles that will be retailed in the paddock and supplied free of charge to hospitality guests (because hospitality guests tend to be the less well-off people 🤷‍♂️).

Reducing the official programme down to one publication that also includes the race guide, removing the need for additional plastic shrink wrapping. The gov says that this year’s publication has been ‘created using sustainably sourced paper certified by the WorldLand Trust (that has also been carbon offset), as well as using eco-friendly printing techniques such as vegetable-based inks’.

Quote Me On That

Former captain of the Starship Enterprise, now Treasury Minister, Dr Alex Allinson has said: ‘As the only country to be a UNESCO Biosphere, the Isle of Man has already demonstrated a clear commitment to preserving the world around us, and we’re now forming strategic partnerships that will ensure this commitment to sustainability extends to the island’s world-famous TT Races. In addition to the positive actions taken to make the delivery of this year’s races more sustainable, we also have a commitment to encourage visitors to make environmentally positive decisions and act responsibly when on island.’

Jaime Amoedo, CFO of the Pozitive Group, added: ‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the Department for Enterprise and helping the Isle of Man TT Races become Carbon Neutral. The TT is a deeply integrated part of the Isle of Man’s heritage and as a business based on the Island we’re passionate about working with the department to build a sustainable future for the event.’

An Image Problem

The lack of a TT Zero race is not a good look for the island, the TT of course became a standard-bearer by launching its own zero-emissions race, but motorsport as a whole now has an image problem. Ex-Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said as much himself and that is a sport which aims to introduce fully sustainable fuel by 2026 and go carbon neutral by 2030. 

When TT Zero was dropped (put on a hiatus) the lack of innovation and the limited amount of teams entering was the reason given, which if you look at the numbers is fair enough, there were only seven entries in 2019. Formula E has seen teams pump a lot of money into improving cars and battery length and while this year’s TT will be ‘carbon neutral’, organisers must know they need to get zero-emission racing back as soon as possible because as with every motorsport that says off-setting is making it carbon neutral, the voices calling it greenwashing will only grow the longer it goes on.