World Environment Day- Do football clubs use their unique power to raise awareness for the environment?
Yesterday, on the 5th of June was the World Environment Day. A day, introduced by the United Nations to raise awareness for the urgently needed protection and improvement of the environment.
The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.
Considering, that over the past years the protection of the environment has increasingly become a topic of global debate the question arises what is football – as a global industry- doing to reduce its carbon footprint and raise awareness of environmental sustainability?
Football proofs on a daily basis that it has the ability to reach out to a large audience, but do football clubs also use their unique power in getting involved in communicating our responsibility to care for the environment?
Environmental & Climate Protection Initiatives by Football clubs
FREE Eco Fun Day– Greener Morton
For instance, a contribution to sustainability is being made by EFDN member Greenock Morton FC. In 2016, the club launched the Greener Morton FREE Eco Fun Day following the purpose of raising awareness for climate change. During the event, information concerning the topics of recycling correctly, up-cycling and public transport were provided to the public. Additionally, the club asked participants of the FREE Eco Fun Day to bring along old kit and boots for recycling.
Solar Energy– SV Werder Bremen
Also SV Werder Bremen demonstrates its green stands for being environmentally conscious. The club has incorporated 20,000 single module solar cells on the stadium’s roof roof, which next to generating enough power for the Weser Stadium, have the capacity of producing a surplus energy, which powers 400-500 houses a year.
Less Rubbish Around the Stadium– VfL Wolfsburg
One of the clubs that considers climate and environmental protection to be a high priority, is VFL Wolfsburg.
Among others, the German clubs aim at producing less rubbish around the stadium. According to the club, the largest amounts of waste are being produced on match days in the Volkswagen Arena. In order to reduce the waste, in recent years, VfL Wolfsburg introduced the usage of reusable cups, instead of plastic cups, and food as sausage is no longer being sold on cardboard plates, but directly in buns.
Velo Buffalo– KAA Gent/ Voetbal in de Stad
KAA Gent and its Community Organisation ‘Voetbal in de Stad’ support a very towards environmental protection.
The Belgian Club encourages its supporters to care about the environment by visiting the stadium on game days by bike instead of using the car or other motorised vehicles.
The strategy has proven to be well accepted among the fans of the club. Every game, around 1500 to 2500 supporters are taking their bicycles to cycle to the stadium. In case of important matches the number rises up to 3500 fans.
In order to implement the approach successfully, the club, together with the city and other partners ensured that around 2850 bicycle racks were installed. Additionally, the cycle paths around the arena were properly developed.
KAA Gent’s active travel strategy has officially been recognised by Healthy Stadia.
Football, a powerful tool to raise awareness about environmental issues
Active Travel Guidance – European Healthy Stadia
Sports clubs have a lot to gain from promoting walking and cycling routes and installing suitable assets such as cycle locking facilities, in particular a healthier fan-base and more active workforce, plus decreased noise pollution and improved air quality around sports venues.
Healthy Stadia’s Active Travel Guidance will help representatives from sports stadia involved in facilities management, operations, and communications to work with local partners to develop and promote and active travel plan as part of an overall travel strategy’.
Resources on Environmental & Sustainability Issues
· ‘Green Champions in Sport and Environment’ by the German Federal Ministry and the German Olympic Sports Confederation