Forest Green Rovers have been named one of the greenest football clubs in the world. Situated in Gloucestershire, both the staff and the team have worked hard to make their club as sustainable as possible. One of the leaders of this movement is the owner himself, Dale Vince, who is known to have been an activist for sustainability and has been awarded an OBE for his services to the Environment and to the Electricity Industry. Vince also owns Ecotricity, an energy company that produces electricity through renewable wind power.
The team, in 2011, were put on a strict diet, when on the grounds, that contained no red meat products in order to keep the players in good health. Not long after this there was a complete ban on the sale of meat products containing red meat on the grounds, for both the team and the staff. Although, there are a few of the team members that still eat meat when away from the grounds, there are a handful of players that have converted to veganism. This lack of red meat has meant that the carbon footprint from the football club has decreased significantly. Cows when they burp release methane which is known to have severe effects on the rate of climate change.
Veganism is not the only way this club has gained its green status, their New Lawn Stadium has one of the only organic stadium pitches in the UK, as there is no artificial grass. There are a number of solar panels, both around the stadium, as well as on the roof to produce clean renewable energy. These panels were put in place to produce 25% of the electricity needed to power the New Lawn Stadium.
Although these are impressive, they are not as impressive as the plans that are in place for the football clubs new Eco Park. The stadium will be the new home of the Forest Green Rovers and they have plans to make it the world’s greenest stadium. The stadium is planned to be made entirely of wood, to remove the emissions created when using metal or cement. Around the stadium the club have pledged to plant 500 trees and 1.8 km of hedges in order to encourage animals and plant growth. This will definitely promote biodiversity and will be a great way to protect our wildlife.
The club are also putting plans into place to cut the number of drivers coming into the stadium. They are encouraging people to use public transport and are looking into setting up bus services on match days from the local train stations and the surrounding areas. This will mean less greenhouse gas emitting cars will be entering the stadium grounds, and if you do happen to be driving an electric vehicle there are charge points where you can plug into whilst you watch the game.
Forest Green Rovers are definitely paving the way for sustainability within football, and we hope that other clubs will follow in their footsteps soon and become a little more eco-conscious.