Remarks by UNEP Director of Communications Nick Nuttall at FIA Sport Conference Week do, jun 27, 2013

Remarks on 'Environmental Sustainability and Motor Sport' delivered during conference hosted by Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)

UNEP works closely with a wide range of sporting organizations, including the International Olympic Committee and the International Motorcycling Federation.

Goodwood (UK), 27 June 2013-Thank you for inviting me to address the FIA Sport Conference on the issue of environmental sustainability and motor sport.

And congratulations to Lord Drayson, the former Minister of Science, for breaking the world land speed record for an electric car this week?the timing could not be better for FIA's first sport conference week.

My name is Nick Nuttall, I am the Director of Communications and Public Information at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) which houses UNEP's engagement on sport and the environment.

FIA is no stranger to UNEP-the foundation for example is a partner with us on the highly successful Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles which was requested by governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to phase-out lead in fuels in over 80 developing countries.

And GFEI-the Global Fuel Economy Initiative which has the long term ambition of a halving of fuel use in vehicles by 2050.

UNEP is no stranger to sports and the environment. Since 1994 we have worked with the International Olympic Committee on greening the summer, winter and paralympics and are currently assisting Sochi 2014 and only last week I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rio 2016.

We have many partnerships with sporting organizations. I am pleased to see colleagues from FIM here today: since 2006 we have partnered on greening motorcycling and promoting the UN's World Environment Day on 5 June each year

Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in a rapidly changing world.

UNEP is headquartered for the globe in Nairobi, Kenya and has been there since the early 1970s.

Like motor sports, modern technologies are transforming our work and the possibilities of what we can do.

Once almost marooned in East Africa in a sense, satellites and high speed Internet links mean UNEP is as connected to the world as other UN agencies in places like New York or Geneva.

Kenya itself shares the vision of someone like Lord Drayson-the country is determined to become low if not zero emission in electricity generation.

The biggest wind farm in sub Saharan Africa is about to start construction, Kenya is tapping the hot rocks of the Great Rift Valley for geothermal electricity and solar power is emerging rapidly. Our own HQ is a zero energy building courtesy of solar, passive ventilation and smart lighting appliances.

Kenya is not alone. Two weeks ago we published our Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments.

In 2012 40 per cent of new energy investment was in renewables; record levels of megawatts were installed in wind and solar.

There are still those who prefer to ignore the facts and the trends. First clean energy would not work, then it was too expensive and now it can't be scaled up.

But whether it be the US$67 billion investments in China in 2012 or the fact that a state like Iowa-incidentally a Republican-held state in the US-now generates 25 per cent of its electricity from wind, well the reality challenges the ideology.

5.7 million people are now employed directly or indirectly in clean energy in a world craving employment, especially for the young.

Ladies and gentlemen,

today in my brief remarks I would like to outline some of the forces shaping the world and which in turn are shaping sport-and motor sports-relationship with society now and in the years to come.

Firstly we live in a world of seven billion people climbing to over nine billion by 2050.

Science tells us that on current trends we will triple resource use by mid century without an urgent decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption.

Science also tells us that we live in a world of planetary boundaries and tipping points-and we should try to live within the former and avoid the latter because they may be irreversible.

Cod stocks off North America's Grand Banks being a case in point-despite now long term closures to fishing boats, the cod has never come back because the conditions have fundamentally changed due to over-fishing.

The Arctic and climate change is another example in a world where only month or so ago we learnt that concentrations of carbon dioxide broke through yet another critical threshold and where from the International Energy Agency to the World Bank the warnings are of 4 degree, 5 degree 6 degree hotter globe sometime this century.

How to grow economies, generate jobs but do so in ways that shrink humanity's footprint on our Earth and indeed our oceans and our atmosphere?

That was the task before Heads of State and governments in Brazil last June at the Rio+20 Summit.

Three outcomes that resonate with this week's conference:

Sustainable Procurement-research indicates that if government and local authority spending in an economy is somewhere over 23 per cent?and that spending is 'greened'-it can tip the entire economy into the sustainability space.

Corporate sustainability reporting-25 per cent of big companies report their environmental, social and governance footprints, but 75 per cent do not.

UNEP is supporting Brazil, Denmark, France and South Africa in a global initiative to dramatically change this.

Beyond GDP-GDP is a very blunt indicator of how well any economy is doing. In China pollution and environmental degradation is estimated to be costing the economy three or four per cent of GDP?but it is not formally accounted for.

Governments want a new indicator of wealth that better captures environmental and social factors. Such an indicator could have profound impacts on the way we all do business.

Some of these outcomes are already being reflected in sporting events. We are working with Brazil, host of the FIFA World Cup 2014 and 2016 Rio Olympics, to green supply chains through sustainable procurement.

Brazil also wants more large and interestingly medium-sized companies to report on their footprint and are using these two big sporting events to fast track this.

Brazil has also asked us to develop a Green Passport for these two big sports events. The passport will promote ecotourism to spectators and sustainable agriculture and food including organic food available at hotels and restaurants in the host cities.

When UNEP first became involved in sport in the mid-1990s it was perhaps more about public relations and public awareness.

It still is: but increasingly we are being called upon to provide expertise and advice on sustainable pavilions and structures up to these new directions such as green procurement, which extend the influence and responsibility beyond the sports event itself to a wider notion of legacy within an economy.

I cannot imagine that motor sports would be immune from some of these profound sea changes at work in the world-from environmental and reputational risk to the opportunities emerging for business from providing the technological and organizational solutions.

Formula 1 and motor sports generally are already providing technological breakthroughs in terms of engines, fuels and light weight, safe designs that are feeding into the wider mobility markets.

Your sponsors are also looking increasingly to you for greener more sustainable events-and as I have tried to outline, this is not going to go away.

Motor sports and the men and woman involved have also been about achievement, raising the bar and breaking records.

They have also been about fun for millions upon millions of spectators - arm chair and in the stadia.

I think the environmental challenges and opportunities of the 21st century play precisely to those strengths and if I was in the cockpit at the crossroads of 2013, would seize the future that is so manifestly yours.

When people like Donald Campbell raced in his Bluebird it was more about personal and national pride. Today it is equally about bringing forward to solutions and technologies that can transform the world from a wasteful one into a low carbon, resource efficient global Green Economy.

Bertrand Piccard, the adventurer just completed his crossing of the US in the solar-powered plane Solarimpulse. People are excited and astonished by Piccard but equally by the potential of the technology.

A solar powered catamaran is currently sailing up the coast of North America tracking changes in the Gulf Stream linked with global warming. The University of Geneva vessel has the UNEP flag fluttering off the mast as we are supporting the science but also showcasing the technology that could transform shipping.

Motor sports is precisely in the same poll position to take these kinds of leads that society urgently needs while maintaining its long standing reputation for innovation, safety and entertainment on and off the track.

 
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