F1 sponsor Saudi Aramco given red light by environmental group over greenwashing

Formula 1 (F1) sponsor Saudi Aramco has been accused of making “misleading environmental claims” and using “confusing terminology” while promoting its low-carbon fuels to motorsports fans.

The oil and gas company – which is 95% Saudi Arabian state-owned – recently began a new ad campaign spotlighting its work on developing alternative and more sustainable fuels with F1 but has been called out by the New Weather Institute environmental campaign group for greenwashing.

Complaints lodged with the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) were based on the idea that Saudi Aramco’s alternative fuels are not “a real, scalable solution” to the climate crisis since they require huge amounts of energy to produce.

It also highlighted that the company’s investment largely goes into fossil fuel production.

The accusations come days after Saudi Aramco became the ‘Official Energy Partner’ for all the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football’s (CONCACAF) national teams and club competitions.

New Weather Institute co-director Andrew Simms said: “Saudi Aramco repeatedly acts to keep the world locked in a fossil fuel trap raising roadblocks to climate progress.”

“In the final lap of the fight against climate breakdown, we need a red light to stop these corporations from confusing, misleading and ultimately delaying the climate action we need to accelerate.”

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The oil and gas company has declined to comment, however, F1 opted to defend the partnership, based on its duty to explore alternative fuels, adding that it “strongly believes” those being developed by Saudi Aramco can be carbon neutral.

An F1 spokesperson said: “We have set a target to be net zero carbon by 2030 both on and off the track.”

“One action we are taking is to move to advanced sustainable fuels, that will be carbon neutral, in the Formula 1 hybrid power unit in 2026.”

Figures published last year revealed that Mercedes’ F1 Team slashed emissions from race and hospitality trucks as well as generators by 67% as it switched to HVO100 biofuel during the European leg of the F1 season.

In total, it saved 339 tonnes of CO2 over the 386,000km travelled by its fleet of trucks.

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