World’s Greenest Soccer Club Kicks Off In Professional League
England soccer team Forest Green Rovers kicks off its first ever professional league campaign in its 128-year history knowing that they are already champions if environmental sustainability and commitment to a low carbon business are yard-sticks of success.
Only a few months ago FIFA, the world governing body of football, called the team the greenest football club in the world.
Today, with his team primed to start their fight up the competitive charts of the English Football League against Saturday’s opponents Barnet, Forest Green Rovers (FGR) owner and green entrepreneur Dale Vince told UN Climate Change News how a passion for football amongst players and fans alike could be turned into a passion for the planet.
“We always felt that football fans are a passionate group of people. If we could invoke the same kind of passion for environment issues that they feel for their club, we could create some passionate environmentalists and drive change that way,” said Mr Vince, founder of the equally innovative green electricity firm Ecotricity.
In May, the team broke into the longed-for professional level with a 3-1 victory against Tranmere Rovers at England’s temple of football Wembley, making their home at Nailsworth in Gloucestershire – population less than 6,000 – the smallest ever to host an English Football League club.
Some bigger clubs do have various green initiatives but these are not business-wide programmes. FGR has proved that the size of their environmental and climate ambition is what counts and Mr Vince is certain that its success can be replicated at any level.
“Sustainability as we approach it is absolutely replicable at the very highest level,” he said. “It is totally possible, more easily for big clubs than small, because as is often the way with sustainability steps, the upfront cost is usually a little higher than the unsustainable alternative, but the life time running costs are lower.”