There’s no secret that the motorsport is placing its mark on the environment. Rally Sweden is since 2019 working ambitiously with its climate goal – Rally Towards Zero. With clear strategies and curiosity of research, the organization of Rally Sweden wants in a sustainable way decrease the carbon footprint and in the long run inspire the entire international motorsport to become more sustainable. This is an ongoing journey, not always visible to the audience, leading up to the event each year. One club representative, Nils Hauri from Mallbackens IF, is working for a more climate neutral rally.
– For me its undoubtedly that we should be sustainable when engaging in motorsport. If we don’t start now there will be no rally in the future. We have a world event here with millions of viewers around the world seeing our beautiful surroundings. What we have is extremely important for the visibility of Värmland in the world.
Nils is working with the rest of the members of the club to keep track of the different stages. Handling waste is one of the most important assignments and also ongoing when spring arrives and the snow has melted.
— Our most important task is together with the audience to keep the stages clean. Since the start in 2019 we have handed out recyclable bags to all visitors, a way to encourage the audience to pick up their trash. It is not only bad for the environment if the trash is left in the nature it can also affect animals, sometimes in a life-threatening way. Especially in the areas near their eating fields.
HVO100 —The fossil free Rally
Working with the environment is something involving all parts of the big rally experience. From the stages in the forest to the big arenas, audience and service places. Adam Magnusson, manager at the service place in Torsby is clear in his believe in doing this together.
– I think it is a great initiative from the organization Rally Sweden, taking this clear stand in the sustainability area. New for this year is that all electricity is run on fossil free fuel, HV1000. The generators provide all of the energy to press tents, party tents and restaurants to name a few.
HV100 is 100% renewable diesel produced by recycled vegetable and animal waste from for example restaurants. Producing HVO100 does not pollute the atmosphere with new carbon dioxide. Colabitoil is the supplier to Rally Sweden and their business model is based on innovative research within energy and environment.
— Prince Carl Philip drove a four wheeler during last year’s rally, says Jan Nordlöf, CEO. Our ambition is for more people to discover the fossil free alternatives. We will be driving cars in the future, so why not explore our options for a better alternative?
Today no rally cars participating in the Swedish Rally are using fossil free fuel. But the goal for the coming years is to enable more to do so.
— Who doesn’t remember the sound of the rally car flying through the forest? It is important for the experience and nothing we want to change. In fact the choice of fossil free fuel will continue to make this happen. Although the development is undergoing, already last year the diesel driven event vehicles used HVO100. The vision for the future is to have all cars on this kind of fuel in all stages.
– Within the near future I hope the historic stage can be driven on only fossil free fuel and more and more cars over time as well. But we have to take one step at a time, however it feels great that we are doing this now in order to reach as little carbon footprint on the climate as possible.
Jan Nordlöf is also hoping that the audience driving diesel cars will have the opportunity to fill up with HVO100 during the rally.
— We are investigating the possibilities to set up a station near some of the audience spots. Hopefully we can have this already in 2020.
Working together with the audience
The visitors play an important role for the environmental work of Rally Sweden.
Magnus Säfström, stage manager from Munkfors MC is working hard to engage the audience during the competitions.
— The audience is very important for our initiative to keep the forest clean. The biobags we are handing out are degradable in case they are forgotten. Of course we want the trash to be placed in them. In my experience, most people are really good at picking up after themselves. The bags are then left with us and handled by our partner Suez. I think in Scandinavia we are generally good at thinking about the environment and the allemansrätten (right of public access) and it comes naturally not to litter. Of course, there are always those not caring, and that we have to work with.
The clubs are, in addition to taking care of the stages, responsible for the visitor spots and sales points. The choice of material becomes important. All sales points have stopped using plastic disposables. For 2020 Magnus is hoping for recycling stations:
— If the visitors could sort everything themselves that would be fantastic. We are looking at recycling stations to be placed in the near proximity of the spectator spots for easy access and sorting of waste.
A sense of belonging and the attitude is everything for a successful sustainability initiative continues Magnus.
— It is important to have everyone on the same track. No one can do this on their own and it’s all about finding the positivity. It has not been hard among us working with the rally. We help each other, we car pool as often as possible and we encourage the visitors to do the same or catch the bus. Often it is our own convenience hindering us. But I am really passionate about this and hoping to influence the motorsport internationally. Can we start finding a model working for us others will hopefully follow.