Driving Change: MotorSport New Zealand Sustainability Fund

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Launched in 2021 by MotorSport New Zealand, the Sustainability Fund aims to offset carbon emissions produced by motor sport competitors. Today, it continues to shape the motor sport landscape, emphasising a commitment to a more eco-friendly future. The Fund also makes a significant impact on vital environmental projects, such as the Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust's native bush regeneration efforts on the Otago Peninsula. 

The core objective of the Sustainability Fund is straightforward: to balance out the carbon emissions generated during motorsport races. Notably, the fund offers flexibility. Event organisers can voluntarily participate, contributing to sustainability efforts. There are also plans to extend this option to individual competitors, mirroring carbon offset programs similar to those used by airlines.

To make this initiative more tangible, MotorSport New Zealand has developed a unique formula. This formula allows organisers to calculate the carbon offset cost for each entry, providing the option to include it as an optional or mandatory part of the event entry fee. It's a practical approach that aligns sustainability efforts with the sport's financial realities.

Elton Goonan, CEO of MotorSport New Zealand, applauded the motorsport community for embracing these changes. Events like the New Zealand Rally Championship have already set an example by adopting sustainability measures, including the use of E85 bio-ethanol fuel.

The Otago Rally, the first event to pledge its support, has contributed a substantial amount to the fund—approximately $7761, or around $50 per competitor—to offset fuel use during the competition and the preceding two-day reconnaissance. The Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust was chosen as the initial beneficiary of Otago Rally's contribution to the Fund.

Trustee Paul Pope expressed gratitude for the funding, which will be invested in additional native planting to enhance biodiversity and the landscape in this crucial area. The Trust has been diligently working to safeguard and restore native flora and fauna on the Otago Peninsula, and this funding will enable them to expand their efforts.

Elton Goonan remarked, “The motorsport community here, like many others worldwide, is fortunate to enjoy events against the spectacular backdrop of New Zealand's pristine landscapes. It is only fitting that we take steps to ensure these landscapes are preserved for future generations."

"The global perspective on transportation, especially cars, is evolving towards minimizing emissions, and as a sport, we must support this shift. We all have a role to play in creating a more environmentally sustainable New Zealand, and this represents an important step from the motorsport community," Goonan added.