Deceuninck – Quick-Step has announced its intention to become the world’s first certified carbon-neutral cycling team.
Through a series of “cultural and behavioural changes” that will begin to roll out this season, the Belgian team, home to riders such as Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Mørkøv and Bob Jungels, intends to bring its 1,288-tonne carbon footprint (the equivalent of 539 return flights between Brussels and New York, according to Deceuninck – Quick-Step) down to net zero.
According to the team’s press release, steps it intends to take to reach this goal include:
- Reducing the use of plastic in the next two years and increasing recycling
- Creating consciousness and networking among the team’s partners and suppliers
- Promoting selling of recycled product through the team’s digital platform
- Encouraging fans and partner staff to travel more via bicycle
- Reducing energy consumption at the team’s headquarters
- Dividing and recycling the waste and using biodegradable products as much as possible
- Promoting the culture of recycling and reduce littering
- Educating riders and staff to respect the environment
- Off-setting remaining CO2 emissions by supporting certified climate projects
The team’s environmental credentials will be audited by CO2logic, an independent consultancy office that specialises in assessing the carbon footprint of businesses.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to become the world's first carbon neutral cycling team and begin a program of cultural and behavioural changes, as part of it #itsstartswithus sustainability campaign, in conjunction with CO2logic.
Read more about it here: https://t.co/tJqbbNZDso pic.twitter.com/3VAOrFqcIW
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) January 10, 2020
Working in collaboration with this body, the team will be supporting a project developed by Centre Régional de la Propriété Forestière, which focuses on conservation and reforestation efforts around Mont Ventoux – an area close to many cyclist’s hearts.
The team is also working on providing and installing a safe water supply to the Kaliro District in Uganda. As well as a positive health impact, the team’s press release says having a safe supply “negates the need to have water delivered”, reducing the reliance on goods vehicles in this area.
While this is undoubtedly a commendable initiative, and we welcome any healthy dialogue around cycling’s environmental impact, it’s notable that the team makes no mention of the vast amount of air travel or caravan support that is required to run a professional cycling team.
Moving towards electric vehicles seems like the next obvious step in improving cycling’s environmental credentials. Could this also improve the respiratory health of riders?
As for air travel, unless we want to see riders moving towards sail-powered transfers between continents (perhaps we could fill the extra time this would take with competitive Zwifting?) the answer isn’t obvious.