Are Forest Green Rovers FC the greenest football club in the world?

If you are a football fan, this could be the reason to go green this summer.

Forest Green Rovers Football Club (FGR FC) are one of a small handful of football clubs which are actively trying to reform the image of their club by adapting their approach sustainability.

Bayern Munich of Bavaria, Germany have long followed some eco standards, using the same technology as the Forest Green Rovers for their pitch, but the Forest Green Rovers have taken it to a new level and have since become internationally renowned for their efforts.

Changes began in 2010 when Dale Vince became the major shareholder in the club; having surely caught the eco bug, the club has since achieved 7 huge environmental actions, and are currently planning to complete 7 more. Efforts include the use of an automatic lawn mowing ‘Mobot’ from Tesla, photo voltaic solar panels, irrigation systems and rainwater harvesting, enabling them to soon be independent from the water mains.

The club have also attracted a lot of attention by taking red meat off of the menu; this quickly followed by going completely meat free, also helping to adjust attitudes of the footballers by presenting a path to achieving a healthier lifestyle inside and outside the walls of the club. Defender Aarran Racine claims “it is a bit of a shock to some, but you get used to it – I have done anyway, I like it”.

In 2012 the Forest Green Rovers achieved the gold standard for environmental performance from the Eco-Management and Audit-Scheme (EMAS) which of course struck the need to adapt the colour of the kit to their green image…rightly so!

FGR.pngPicture taken from website.

Dale Vince, founder of ‘ecotricity’ and the electric highways, is the master mind behind all of this eco action; Vince hopes that by spreading the eco message within the football world, it will enhance the clubs’ reputation and influence others to go green.

In hopes to impact the local economy, Vince has had each member of the squad driving a Nissan leaf with the FC’s logo to raise awareness about the club and their cause and has extended a helping hand to support other green gannets by installing an on-site charging point for electric and hybrid cars, ensuring fans are able to drive and park at the club without worrying about running out of charge.

The future for Forest Green Rovers, is also looking a bright shade of green, with plans in place to build an eco-venue similar to that of their ‘Green Britain Centre’ in Norfolk and if the team win against Bristol Rovers, Vince wants the team to go vegan, he claims that as the club claims more victories, the team will attract further attention thus increasing their duty of care.

As the club opens its gates to the local public for learning purposes, Vince hopes that the linked efforts of the club and the footballers will entice younger visitors, from schools to be inspired by and follow the footsteps of local stars and role models.

See their full environmental mission: https://www.forestgreenroversfc.com/about-forest-green-rovers/ecotricity-and-forest-green-rovers/greening-up-football

Sports teams are only just adjusting to the changes in the environment, however systems are being put in place to support this shift; Sport England have even dedicate part of their website to enabling clubs to calculate their carbon footprints! Check it out: http://www.sustainableclubs.co.uk/energy-calculator/

It’s great to see sports clubs taking initiative to create a positive impact, and is a giant step towards a greener future.

Written by Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner – Rebecca Mason

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