Sustainability Consultant and Notts County fan, Josh Stanley tells us just how green is our beautiful game?
There is much pressure on a vast number of industries to reduce overall C02 emissions and become more sustainable, due to the net zero target by 2050. Our beautiful game is one of those industries looking to significantly cut emissions and ‘turn green’. With football being the world's most favourite sport with an estimated five billion fans around the world. How important is the role of football in the battle against climate change?
Sport has always had a competitive nature, one way in which the Premier League has added an incentive to becoming more sustainable, is by producing the Premier League sustainability table. This table ranks all 20 of the Premier League clubs based on their sustainability. Clubs are ranked based on points accumulated from sustainable transport & clean energy to plant-based or low-carbon food. A very important aspect of this scheme is the emphasis on education. Premier League clubs are encouraged to engage with local communities to raise awareness of sustainability.
Lower down the English football league pyramid you will surprisingly find a team more famous for its sustainability than its sporting accolades. That team is Forest Green Rovers. Described as the greenest football club in the world, by FIFA in 2017. Along with that, Forest Green Rovers are the only vegan football club in the world. You would naturally think that they would stop there, right? No!
Forest Green Rovers are planning to build the Eco Park, a new complex that will the base for all the club’s actives including a new 5,000-seater stadium. Upon its completion Eco Park will have the lowest carbon footprint of any football stadium in the world.
It is my opinion that football clubs can play a huge role in the battle against climate change. The work that they do has the potential to raise awareness of the issue among its large fanbase and inspire others to follow suit. The work that they put in off the pitch will have a longer impact than the work they put in on the pitch. I think most football clubs can be proud of the steps they are taking to become more sustainable. However, that sustainable growth must continue to reach our shared goal of net zero target by 2050.
In the words of The Farm ‘All Together Now’.
Written by Josh Stanley, Sustainability Consultant, Encon Associates Limited