McLaren makes a splash with carbon offsets to help Great Barrier Reef as Bottas bares his ass for charity


Formula One giants McLaren are teaming up with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as part of major projects designed to help the environment.

McLaren Racing have agreed to purchase carbon credits from reforestation projects in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and CO2 removal initiatives in Britain and the US as part of its bid to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

The British-based company also said in a statement it was partnering with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, an Australian non-profit that works to restore coral reefs.

It’s another Australian connection for the team who employ Melbourne’s Oscar Piastri as one of their two Formula One drivers.

McLaren compete in Formula One and the IndyCar Series, with emissions coming – in addition to motor racing itself – from activities like air travel, with F1 set to race 24 times in 22 different countries next year.

One of the deals was to buy carbon removal credits from Brazilian startup Mombak, which reforests degraded land in the Amazon, while a second one involves Scottish firm UNDO, removing CO2 from the atmosphere through enhanced rock weathering.

We want to achieve net zero by 2040 so we must play our part in tackling climate change. ????

Through our Climate Contribution Programme, we are delighted to partner with @GBRFoundation, Mombak and @UNDOcarbon, who are all committed to addressing the impacts of climate change. ????

— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 30, 2023

McLaren aim to reduce their emissions by 90 per cent by 2040. For the remaining 10 per cent, it would implement initiatives such as carbon offsetting. They did not disclose how much, in total, they were investing in their new ‘Climate Contribution Programme’.

“A big part of that is making sure that we reduce emissions across all our operations and supply chain,” the team’s director of sustainability Kim Wilson said of the 2040 net zero goal.

“But we know that’s not enough. We also have to do something about the existing carbon in the earth’s atmosphere.”

Mombak told Reuters that under their deal it would deliver McLaren removals from 2023 through 2025 at an average price of more than $50 ($A75) per metric ton, a premium over the traditional carbon credit market.

Carbon credits are tradable permits that allow the owner to emit certain amounts of greenhouse gases, with each credit permitting the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide.

“Carbon credits above $50 are the big news,” Mombak co-founder Peter Fernandez said in an interview. “That’s a new level. In Brazil some people still think carbon credits are worth $5, $10, $15 – that’s no longer true.”

Mombak, which buys degraded land from farmers and ranchers or partners with them to replant native species in the world’s largest rainforest, is backed by investors such as Bain Capital and AXA.

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It recently raised a $US100 million ($A151 million) fund to build carbon removal projects in the Amazon, with money from Canada’s CPPIB and the Rockefeller Foundation, and said it hopes the McLaren deal will help shape Brazil’s nascent carbon removal industry.

“This goes to show that the world is willing to pay more. It’s not possible to carry out ecological restoration with just $20 per ton,” Fernandez said. “It is with a price like this that a company like ours can scale the Amazon reforestation.”

Critics of carbon offset markets, including Greenpeace, say they allow emitters to continue to release greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas has raised $US150,000 ($A228,000) for men’s health charity Movember after a ‘Bottass 2024’ calendar featuring photographs of the Finn baring his backside sped off the shelves.

An initial run of 10,000, with five euros ($A8.29) from each going to prostate cancer research, swiftly sold out with more printed.

“Thank you so much for all the support in November. With the donations and with the calendars we have together raised a substantial amount for @Movember,” Bottas announced via social media on Thursday.

The last day of @Movember

Thank you so much for all the support in November. With the donations and with the calendars we have together raised a substantial amount for @Movember – meaning WE have really helped and will effect and save many people’s lives ????

Final figures to…

— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) November 30, 2023

“Final figures to be calculated in the next days, but we are talking around $US150K ($A228K) of funds raised!”

The Alfa Romeo driver had the calendar idea with photographer Paul Ripke after his partner, Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, took a picture of Bottas lying naked in a stream in Aspen, Colorado.

That shot proved a hit on Instagram and was sold for charity.

“I have had questions, people asking me ‘Why did you do that? Why do you want to show your ass?’,” Bottas told at the Las Vegas Grand Prix this month.

“But then when I explained the charity aspect, people got it, and we had so much fun, as you can imagine, taking those pictures.”

Bottas said his mother had some initial reservations, however.

“She doesn’t really understand English that well, and she had seen some videos I had posted. She was quite confused and protective, asking me, ‘Are you sure that’s the path you want to go?’. So I explained the charity thing, and it’s fine.”

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