Forest Green Rovers: The World’s ‘Greenest’ Football Club
In League Two of the English Football League sits a team that is driven not only by on-field results but a desire to encourage sustainability and the aim to become the greenest football club in the world. Based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, Forest Green Rovers (FGR) continues to reduce its carbon footprint through renewable technologies, ethical business plans and innovative technologies. You could say that FGR knows where the goal is, and they’ve hit the back of the net with regards to going green!
Where it all began
The Chairman, Dale Vince, started working with the club in 2010 to improve the club’s social and environmental impact. He is the founder of Ecotricity and was awarded an OBE from the Queen, for services to the environment in 2004. In 2017, FIFA described Forest Green Rovers as the “Greenest football club in the world” and in September 2018 the club received a “Momentum for Change” climate action award from the United Nations.
Forest Green Rovers' initiatives
To reduce its environmental impact FGR has numerous initiatives such as:
- Using rain, drain and spring water to irrigate pitches making them independent from water mains.
- Creating an organic pitch, using no pesticides or manmade chemicals.
- Protecting and enhancing the biodiversity around the ground, by safeguarding and improving habitats.
- Installing electric vehicle charging points to encourage the use of electric vehicles.
- Using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in floodlights.
- Promoting healthier foods for players, staff, visitors and fans. Using a percentage of local and organic ingredients. It is also the world’s first vegan football club.
- Recycling all waste products appropriately, including selling waste cooking oil to be turned into biodiesel.
- Using a solar-powered lawnmower to maintain the pitch.
- Installing a photovoltaic system providing renewable electricity for the club facilities.
This is only a brief overview of the energy management practices Forest Green Rovers has in place. There are many more specific, small-scale operations and procedures in place. Currently, FGR is applying for planning permission to build the greenest football stadium in the world, made entirely out of wood.
Other teams ‘tackling’ sustainability
Forest Green Rovers is not the only football team in the world to attempt to reduce its carbon emissions and become more sustainable. Manchester United, in the top-flight of English football, also uses recycled rainwater for pitch irrigation and maintenance, however, no team can be considered as green as Forest Green Rovers.
FGR has developed a methodology for others to follow and it is hoped that all teams will soon adopt similar technologies and practices. Forest Green Rovers is not only succeeding in reducing its carbon emissions, at the time of writing they are currently second in League Two - proving the team’s success on and off the pitch. So, when it comes to reducing our own environmental impact, to use the words of the football pundits, it's a must-win game, a real six-pointer, and we have to give it 110%!
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