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Kim's Diary: Life As the Akkodis Lead the Charge Candidate

Three months after joining the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, we caught up with Akkodis Lead the Charge candidate Kim Quaghebeur to hear how she has settled into her new role and the exciting new projects she has been working on.

It's been three months since I joined the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team - and what a couple of months it has been! While moving across the world from Australia to the UK, a country I've never been to before, was a leap into the unknown, I could not have asked for a better start.

My role as the team's Sustainability and Environmental Data Consultant as part of the Akkodis Lead the Charge campaign has been a thrill from application to my first day; and the excitement is yet to wear off!

Not only did my time at Adelaide University studying Mechanical Engineering and Renewables, and playing my part in the University's motorsport team, serve as an educational foundation to build my career on, it confirmed my desire to work in a role that combines my two passions of sustainability and F1. Having the opportunity to merge these two areas is a rarity that is not lost on me. I'm soaking up every moment.

After reading all about the 2023 Akkodis Lead the Charge programme through the Team's platforms, I knew I could not pass up the chance to apply. The application process included a series of interviews with multiple Akkodis representatives, their Virtual Challenge, and final interviews with Alice Ashpitel, Head of Sustainability for Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. Akkodis' Virtual Challenge was a great opportunity to meet with people across the world and work together to solve puzzles.

When Akkodis reached out to tell me I had been the successful applicant, I had just finished running my last event for my university's motorsport team. It could not have been better timing: as I was concluding my time on my university's team, I found out that I got to be a member of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team!

From hearing the news to joining the team here in Brackley, everyone at Akkodis and my new Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team colleagues have been so welcoming and fantastic to work with. While I do sometimes miss the warmer Aussie climate, the support from the team has more than made up for the temperamental English weather.

When looking back on these first few months, I cannot quite believe everything I have been able to get involved with and learn from.

With our annual sustainability report coming up, we have been hard at work calculating our 2023 carbon footprint. This is done via a process called carbon accounting. Fundamentally, this means we work with every department around the factory to accurately assess our emissions to then work with an independent auditor to ensure our results are accurate. This has perhaps been the biggest project I have contributed to so far and has been a fascinating piece of work.

Preparing the footprint has been a great way to learn about the team’s operations and understand the relationships between our trackside operations and the factory, which has highlighted to me the opportunities we have when it comes to sustainability.

Additionally, I have had the opportunity to get involved with a few other projects that are aimed at meeting our various sustainability targets covering food waste and commuting. We are exploring new ways to refine our commuting footprint and identify ways to reduce it, such as a car sharing scheme that was rolled out last year.

Across the factory restaurant in Brackley we have begun implementing data recording processes to help track the different sources of food waste, such as surplus food and preparation waste.

Engaging with my colleagues across all these projects has sparked great conversations to help inform future sustainability projects right across the team’s operations such as the recycling of team clothing and further food waste reduction methods.

Not only has this allowed me to collaborate with many of my team-mates, but these projects have also allowed me to appreciate how multifaceted and holistic our sustainability strategy is: from trackside to the factory restaurant where we all have lunch – there is a lot to cover!

Since my recent start as the Akkodis Lead the Charge candidate and with the team, I have learned so much about sustainability best practices, the motorsports industry and how a Formula 1 Team works. I cannot wait to see what else is to come, learn even more and see where all these exciting projects lead to!

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