Formula E at COP26: One week in, and what's still to come

As the only all-electric motorsport World Championship, Formula E is flying the flag at COP26 in Glasgow, with the series acting as a unique technological innovation environment for the world's leading automotive manufacturers and a driver of sustainable practices in sport. Here's a look back at the opening week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and what's still to come.

Formula E is a leader in driving forward the race for sustainable technology, climate action and cleaner air, and has been for the last decade.

To mark the seminal COP26 conference in Glasgow, the only all-electric World Championship motorsport series is involved with a number of events, discussing the vital role sport is playing in accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices, lifestyles and electric vehicle innovation.

The Road to COP26

On the way to the most important climate conference in history, from its London HQ to Glasgow, Formula E checked in with its teams, partners and manufacturers, to take a closer look at how exactly the planet's favourite sport is accelerating positive change.

WATCH: Catch Formula E's electric road trip to COP26 over on YouTube

The first stop on the way was with Jaguar Racing, at the historic manufacturer's Gaydon base to investigate all things design and performance - and how competition in Formula E is pushing Jaguar's road car technology to the next level.

The Road to COP26: The journey begins with Jaguar Racing

Envision Racing's Recover E

Envision Racing stole the show on Wednesday in Glasgow, with its unique car dubbed 'Recover E'.

This full-scale replica of Formula E's Gen2 race car followed the team's striking livery launch last week, but here the car was made entirely of recycled plastics and painstakingly put together over a period of months and 700 hours by artist Liam Hopkins.

Recover E is a collaboration between the team, Kids Against Plastic, COP26 and Glasgow City Council; to highlight the urgency of tackling plastic pollution. The car has been front-and-centre, catching the eye of a number of world leaders and later made its way to Broadcasting House for a TV appearance on BBC One.

The team also welcomed former Formula 1 driver and activist Nico Rosberg as a speaker, alongside climate scientist Johan Rockstrom. "We've had 150 years of fossil fuel burning in the oil, coal and gas era - the pinnacle of this is the internal combustion engine," said Rockstrom. "In comes Formula E to show that transitioning to a safe climate future is unleashing new innovation, which takes us to a higher level of accomplishment."

Signing on the dotted line: commiting to action

To kick-start Formula E's COP26 involvement on 2 November, Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle joined ABB chief communications & sustainability officer, Theodor Swedjemark; Ulrika Modeer, assistant secretary UNDP; and Selwin Hart, UN special adviser and assistant secretary-general for Climate Action, to discuss how the private sector will play a key role in bringing about a low-carbon society by reducing emissions in industry.

A day later, Formula E announced that it had signed up to the updated UNFCCC Sports For Climate Action Framework - an initiative established three years ago to drive climate action in the agenda of the sports industry and provide a signal for the future of sports.

READ MORE: Formula E's sustainability drive

Formula E is a founding member and signatory of this framework to advance and educate on sustainability in and through sports in line with the Paris Agreement. The next step - and the updated framework - is to encourage signatories to move from commitment to action and adopting ambitious targets to help set the pace for climate action for other businesses globally.

The International Olympic Committee, World Surf League (WSL), Paris 2024, World Sailing, Sail GP, World Rugby, The Ocean Race, Extreme E and many more have since joined Formula E as signatories to the agreement.

Formula E's always been first when it comes to striving for sustainability in motorsport - and in sport as a whole. The championship was the first motorsport series to achieve third-party ISO 20121 certification in 2016, the world’s first sport to achieve a net zero carbon footprint since inception, and the first sport to join the Science Based Targets initiative as well as the Business Ambition Pledge for 1.5°C commitment.

Take a look at the full list of the series' reports and recognitions to see just how Formula E has led and continues to lead the way in driving positive change and sustainability in sport.

Coming up...

Week two is where Formula E heads into ATTACK MODE at COP26. Here's what's to come:

  • Action Hub Event: CHANGE. ACCELERATED. (15:00, 9 November): Formula E sustainability director Julia Palle will focus on Formula E’s leadership position in sustainable innovation in sport and how it is holistically embedded into the Championship
  • Green Zone Auditorium Event: CHANGE. ACCELERATED. (13:00, 10 November): Representatives of the Formula E ecosystem will discuss sport’s role in accelerating sustainable human progress including FIA deputy president for sport, Graham Stoker, and speakers from Mahindra Racing, ROKiT Venturi Racing, Julius Baer and Liberty Global. Formula E title partner ABB will host a panel discussion entitled ‘ABB Formula E – It’s more than a race. Together we are drivers of progress’ featuring Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle; Theodor Swedjemark, chief communications & sustainability officer, ABB; and Lucas di Grassi, ROKiT Venturi Racing driver and environmental campaigner
  • Sustainable Innovation Forum (15:55, 10 November): Formula E sustainability director Julia Palle will discuss mainstreaming climate innovations for Net Zero Carbon transitions
  • Department for International Trade & Formula E VIP Evening Reception: during the second week of COP26, the Department for International Trade and Formula E will co-host an intimate evening reception attended by government, media, and clean industry leaders to mark the launch of DIT’s Clean Growth programme and showcase Britain’s global role in the trade and investment into clean industries around the world