The Portuguese round of the global championship attracts around one million spectators every year and has already earned the FIA Sustainability Three-Star level for its progressive waste management programme and advanced environmental practices.
The WRC is the first FIA World Championship to have made top-level environmental accreditation compulsory for all rally events since 2016, and the Rally of Portugal is at the forefront of those advances.
Building on the WRC experience, the FIA Environment and Sustainability Commission, led by its President Felipe Calderon, has made the expansion of environmental accreditation to other Championships a priority. This was the subject of a workshop that the FIA hosted for its World Championship promoters in Geneva this March.
FIA WRC Commission President Carlos Barbosa, FIA World Motor Sport Council Member and President of the Automóvel Club de Portugal, is also an active member of the FIA Environment and Sustainability Commission. Speaking during last weekend’s Rally of Portugal, he commented: “We are very proud that we are setting an example for environmental work within the FIA World Rally Championship. We will continue to do this with our fantastic team. We are all doing a job to make for a better and more sustainable world.”
WRC Promoter’s Oliver Ciesla added: “High-level environmental practices are as essential in the WRC as in everyday life and the efforts made by all our events to obtain the top level of accreditation should be applauded. Chile, a new entrant to the WRC, is already on target to achieve this in its first year, just as Rally Turkey did in its first year in 2018. Achieving a neutral CO2 balance across all aspects of a rally weekend is a key focus of our discussions with existing and potential new events. The championship is proud of its achievements in this field and honoured to also highlight them to our partners.”
World Environment Day is a global movement promoted by the United Nations since 1974 to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. Celebrated on the 5th of June, it is organized around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern and calls everyone to action. The theme for 2019 is Air Pollution. Improving the waste collection and disposal not only reduces the amount of waste that is burned or sent to landfill, it also helps to cut down the consumption of new materials, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The Rally of Portugal has a world-leading Environment Management System Implementation Plan and this is published on the event’s website and official maps, guides and documentation. The organisers are proactively working in partnership with the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment, through the Environment Agency, to reduce the event’s environmental impact.
The entrance to Rally HQ and the various offices and official areas in Matosinhos were marked with posters and signage, and news, video and social media networks carried documentaries and information about environmental sustainability.
Recycling bags and oil spill kits were made available to all competitors during the event and Environmental Teams were on hand at Rally Pass zones to educate spectators on the correct separation of waste into plastic, glass, paper and unsorted waste.
‘Eco-Marshals’ were located on the special stages, passing on environmental information and promoting the use of the recycling zones, ensuring areas were cleared as soon as possible to avoid possible long-term damage to the ecosystem. Catering suppliers were also responsible for the disposal of their own waste, and the use of recyclable materials was encouraged in a bid to move away from single-use plastic products.
To educate the younger generation – the future of world motor sport – a Rally Recycling Game was created as an extension of the successful ACP Kids Programme.
Officials at the Rally of Portugal also worked in cooperation with local communities and municipalities to start a campaign to eradicate excess waste and make for a more sustainable rally. This was launched on International Recycling Day (May 17th) and continued until the end of the rally.
In this collective effort to help raise awareness of sustainable practices, local drivers such as Armindo Araújo and José Pedro Fontes, as well as international stars, take every opportunity to advocate for the cause and demonstrate their commitment on their own channels.