News & Insights

Read and share Parliament Hill insights and news on the tips, trends, and key developments we’ve identified for benefit management and member satisfaction.

Sustainability in Football

Professional football clubs can have a large impact on the environment. From travelling overseas to play matches, to keeping their home pitch in top condition, football clubs are energy-intensive businesses. Floodlights, video screens, and scoreboards also have large electricity demands, whilst up to 80,000 fans, with their individual carbon footprint can travel to and from one game alone.

It’s not all bad in the world of professional football, though. One football club, based in Gloucestershire, have gone above and beyond to become the world’s first carbon-neutral club. Forest Green Rovers FC is regarded as one of the most sustainable football clubs in the world¹. The club has taken numerous steps to reduce its environmental impact. Some of the key initiatives undertaken by Forest Green Rovers include:

  • Veganism: Forest Green Rovers is the world's first vegan football club. The club offers a vegan match day menu, and its players and staff are required to follow a vegan diet.
  • Sustainable energy: The club's stadium, The New Lawn, is powered by 100% renewable energy, including solar panels and a wind turbine. The club has also installed electric vehicle charging points in the stadium car park.
  • Eco-friendly pitch: The pitch at The New Lawn is organic and free from pesticides and chemicals. It is watered using a rainwater harvesting system, and the grass is cut using a solar-powered robotic lawnmower.
  • Sustainable transport: Forest Green Rovers encourage fans to use sustainable transport by providing bike racks, electric car charging stations, and a shuttle bus service powered by vegetable oil.
  • Sustainable clothing: The club's players wear kits made from bamboo, which is a more sustainable material than traditional polyester.
  • Community engagement: The club engages with its local community to promote sustainability through initiatives like tree planting, composting workshops, and educational programs.

Forest Green Rovers FC has taken a comprehensive approach to sustainability by implementing measures that cover energy, food, transportation, and clothing. The club's commitment to sustainability has earned recognition from the United Nations and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Happily Forest Green Rovers are not just the only club who are taking responsibility for their impact. Championship clubs including; Bristol City, Norwich, and Watford have committed to using clean energy, reducing their reliance on single-use plastic, and looking into promoting energy efficiency and biodiversity².

As well as football clubs, those associated with the beautiful game are trying to be more sustainable. Sky Sports Green Football Weekend was a sustainability initiative aimed at promoting environmental awareness and action within football³. The event was held on 3-5 Feb 2023, coinciding with both English Premier League (EPL) and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) fixtures.

The event was part of Sky's broader efforts to become a more sustainable broadcaster and to encourage fans to do the same. During the Green Football Weekend, Sky worked with football clubs, fans, and broadcasters to raise awareness of environmental issues and promote sustainable practices. Some of the activities and initiatives that took place during the Green Football Weekend included:

  • Carbon offsetting: Sky committed to offsetting the carbon emissions of all EPL and SPFL fixtures broadcast during the weekend.
  • Sustainable matchday operations: Clubs were encouraged to implement sustainable practices during the weekend, such as reducing single-use plastics, promoting recycling, and using renewable energy.
  • Environmental awareness campaigns: Sky aired several documentaries and features highlighting environmental issues and the importance of sustainability.
  • Fan engagement: Fans were encouraged to take part in the event by promoting sustainable practices and sharing their efforts on social media using the hashtag #SkyRainforestRescue.

The Green Football Weekend was part of Sky's broader efforts to promote sustainability within sports and entertainment. Sky has set a target of becoming carbon net zero by 2030.

Although big media corporations like Sky have a way to go to become a sustainable business, it is great to see the amount of effort that went into raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices. Football clubs, their players, and the media can have a huge influence on fan behaviour, and initiatives like this will have a positive effect on the environment and the mindset of future generations. Hopefully, we see more clubs adopt the Forest Green Rovers model in the near future.





Parlaiment Hill have developed a sustainability hub, which can be made available to clients members’ through their online platform. If you would like to find out more about Parlaiment Hill’s Sustainability Journey click here.

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