“Ten years ago we were a lone voice with a radical idea, today it’s fast becoming normal.”
But owner and chairman Dale Vince says a new table ranking the top 20 EFL clubs on their climate-friendly activities off the pitch shows real progress among the rest of the English football pyramid.
Vince said: “It’s great to see the extent to which sustainability in football has become a thing, almost but not yet – an accepted part of the game.”
The table – produced by Sport Positive and published for the first time by BBC Sport attributes weighted points to clubs across 11 key areas from energy (4 points), transport (3 Points) and plastics (2 points) to the less obvious education and communications (both 1 point).
Forest Green scored a maximum 24 points for its many schemes including the stadium being powered by renewable energy, an entirely vegan menu for players, staff and fans, plus electric car charging points, water recycling, an electric lawnmower and an organic pitch. All contributed to Forest Green becoming the world’s first UN certified carbon-neutral football club.
Sport Positive has been producing the Premier League Sustainability Table since 2019. CEO Claire Poole said expanding the research to the 72 clubs in the EFL helped “explore” some of the “incredible examples of leadership” at “all levels of the professional football pyramid”.
Forest Green manager Duncan Ferguson is one of the most recent converts to the club’s sustainable ethos and told BBC Sport: “It has really opened my eyes. I have learned how easy it is to make little changes to how we live our lives and if we all made those changes it would make a huge difference to our planet.”
Of the 72 EFL clubs, 47 provided information for Sport Positive; the scoring of a further 19 clubs was based on publicly available information and six clubs chose not to take part.
Runners up – and the most sustainable side in the Championship – were Bristol City, credited for the work they are doing across both their men’s and women’s teams, as well as feeding into the local community.
Bristol City director Gavin Marshall said he feels football clubs are “finally waking up to the challenge,” adding: “We’re pleased to be among the clubs leading change across football. We recognise that we have an impact and are working hard to mitigate that across a number of key areas.”
Bristol’s head of change and sustainability, Peter Smith said: “This reflects a lot of work across a number of areas, however, we’ll be the first to admit we have a long way to go. It’s good that football has this spotlight on it and we’re really keen that clubs, authorities, fans, sponsors and suppliers come together to make positive change.”
Rochdale director Tony Pockney acknowledged the “lengthy journey” given the “challenging financial environment we operate in”, and said: “When we have investment decisions to be made, environmental sustainability is an important consideration… It’s not just about big decisions. We closely monitor utilities usage and staff are actively ‘switching off and turning down’ when possible to keep our footprint down and to save cost.”
Other examples include:
Crewe Alexandra has announced plans to install a 3,000 panel solar farm with the ambition of becoming carbon negative in the future. The energy produced will be used to power the stadium or sold to produce revenue.
Millwall has the ambition to reduce the CO2 by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2019) with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2040. They have already reduced their carbon emissions by 15.8%.
Bristol City launched a joint climate change initiative ‘Project Whitebeam’ to minimise environmental impact. They are committed to reaching Net Zero by 2040.
Ipswich Town have a partnership with Ipswich CAN (Clean Air Now) and the Ipswich Star in a bid to tackle air pollution in the town, encouraging supporters to think about more sustainable ways of travel.
The EFL has it’s own ‘Green Clubs’ accreditation scheme which assesses environmental credentials and gives them a benchmark rating, plus guidance and advice on change. Fifty clubs are in the scheme.
An EFL spokesperson said: “Climate change is an issue that all industries including football must face, so highlighting best practice work of EFL Clubs is an important part of our collective progression to ensure we become environmentally sustainable.
“With much more to do across the league, game and wider sport, the EFL remains committed to support our clubs who are all at various stages of their sustainability journey.”
Utah State defensive players who’ve left the Aggies recently — i.e. since the end of the 2022 season — in search of
Lionel Messi is no stranger to Saudi Arabia. More than a decade ago, he visited the country for a friendly match. In subsequent years, he made numerous visits f
PROVO, Utah – Former Corner Canyon High star Harrison Taggart is joining the BYU football program. Taggart announced his commitment
When Harrison Taggart starred at Corner Canyon High School as a senior in 2022, numerous universities from across the count