Buidling Dreams Together


Environmental Sustainability in Football

Climate action is always in the news nowadays with some companies and organisations aiming for net zero by 2040, football is no different. The appointment of Wycombe Wanderers’ David Wheeler as the PFA’s first Sustainability Champion demonstrates a growing recognition within the football community of the need to prioritize environmental concerns.

“We were impressed by David’s proactivity on an issue where his passion and knowledge really shone through” said PFA CEO Maheta Molango. The PFA will work with Wheeler to bring together a community of players across the game to share ideas on sustainability and climate initiative’s with teammates and the wider football community.

In February 2023, 80 of the UK’s professional clubs came together for the Green Football Weekend. This encompassed the clubs, fans, families and communities using football to tackle climate change head on. The clubs encourage millions of fans to score ‘green goals’ by taking climate-friendly actions. The campaign, which has become an annual event, is backed by more than 30 major supporters, including the FA, the EFL, and the WSL, as well as BT Sport and Sky.

Forest Green Rovers were named the worlds greenest football club by FIFA in 2017 and were at the heart of Green Football Weekend. Not only are they a vegan football club, but also prioritizing environmental consciousness in sport.

The FA Group developed their first sustainability strategy back in 2009. The new Wembley Stadium which opened in 2007, became the first sporting venue to achieve the Carbon Trust Triple Standard in 2014 and in July 2023 the FA launched a new five-year sustainability strategy.

Extreme weather, driven by climate change has an impact on sports across the world. In one weekend in January this year over 11 EFL matches were called off due to an extreme cold snap. These disruptions not only affect players but also inconvenience fans who have travelled long distances to attend matches only for them to be called off late in the day. At grass roots level the average pitch in England already loses at least five weeks a season to bad weather.

In December 2015, storm Desmond hit the UK, Carlisle, were forced out of their stadium  for seven weeks at a cost of almost £3m. The club’s chief executive, Nigel Clibbens, has since become an active advocate for action, recently quoting scientific studies that Desmond was 59% more likely to occur because of climate change.

Addressing environmental sustainability in football is an evolving process; some clubs are further ahead in the process than others. It is an urgent issue, but it’s not too late top pave the way towards a greener and more sustainable future. Football is in a strong position to be able to affect and influence supporters lives but they can always do more. Some teams are taking to use renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, to power their facilities. Water technology experts are being employed at some EFL clubs to renovate and install infection control and water conservation facilities, saving in the region of 7.5million litres of water each year.

We can all do more, recycle, have meat free days, cycle or walk to football if possible or at least lift share if you have to drive. Ways to engage are just a google search away.