Forest Green Rovers have become the world’s first United Nations certified carbon neutral football club, after signing up to the UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now initiative for the upcoming season.
The initiative will see the club have their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) measured by UNFCC whilst committing to reduce their GHG output. The remaining emissions will then be offset through UN-certified Emission Reduction Certificates (CERs).
The Gloucestershire-based club was bought by Ecotricity chief Dale Vince in 2010, who has since turned them into the world’s first ‘green football club’, serving up vegan burgers at half-time and cutting the grass via a solar-powered robot they call the ‘mowbot’.
The club also provide their players with electric vehicles and there are several charging points at their New Lawn ground.
Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said: ‘It’s a real honour to be the very first sports club in the world to be named carbon neutral by the UN. We’re a small club with big ambitions, and it’s fantastic we can work together to champion the sustainability message worldwide.
‘It’s great to be first, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before the big boys like Real Madrid, Man United and the San Francisco 49ers follow our example. I’m personally looking forward to working more with the UN to help spread the word about the environment through football.’
Miguel Naranjo, UNFCCC programme officer in sustainable development mechanisms, added: ‘For us it’s great, we’re really glad to have Forest Green Rovers on board because it’s an excellent example of the things that you can do right. So getting the club on board means we can transmit that message to other participants and potential participants.
‘The beauty about Forest Green Rovers is that it’s a small organisation, with not a massive budget and still it’s doing so much to address the environmental footprint. So if FGR can do it, anyone can do it as well.’
Environment Journal spoke to Dale Vince in April about his plans to build a stadium entirely of wood and changing attitudes towards the environment in the ‘brutal’ football world which you can read here.