Climate Action

Forest Green Rovers becomes first football club to go carbon neutral

A football team in England’s lower leagues is taking bold steps to become truly low-carbon and sustainable.

  • 30 July 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

A football team in England’s lower leagues is taking bold steps to become truly low-carbon and sustainable.

Forest Green Rovers, currently sitting in the fourth tier of English football, has signed up to the UN’s Climate Neutral Now initiative for the upcoming 2018/2019 season.

The move makes the small football club the first in the world to make such a commitment.

It is the latest in the club’s transition to sustainability following its purchase by Dale Vince, owner of local green energy company Ecotricity.

As chairman, Mr Vince has driven forward a change to an all-vegan menu; building electric vehicle charging points; new solar panels on its stadium roof, and even installing a solar-powered lawnmower. 

The club’s radical transformation into a green sports pioneer has not gone unnoticed outside of its hometown of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. Last year, The Vegan Society accredited the club with its own trademark and it also beat Manchester United to win a sustainability in sport award from The Climate Coalition.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said: “It’s a real honour to be the very first sports club in the world to be named carbon neutral by the UN. We’re a small club with big ambitions, and it’s fantastic we can work together to champion the sustainability message worldwide.

“I’m personally looking forward to working more with the UN to help spread the word about the environment through football.”

Miguel Naranjo at UN Climate Change said: “The beauty about Forest Green Rovers is that it’s a small organisation, with not a massive budget and still it’s doing so much to address the environmental footprint. So if FGR can do it, anyone can do it as well.”

Its green credentials have also been matched by strong performances on the pitch; the club was recently promoted to the English Football League for the first time in its history.