Inside Forest Green Rovers – the world's greenest football club
With the Football League approaching its nail-biting climax, edie pays a matchday visit to Forest Green Rovers to explore how the Ecotricity-owned outfit is uniting sport and environmental consciousness.
Gloucestershire-based Forest Green Rovers is a certainly living up to its name. Since being bought by green energy firm Ecotricity's founder Dale Vince in 2010, the club has applied a sustainability-first mindset to all aspects of the game.
As you might expect, the club – which is currently chasing promotion from the English Football League Two – is now powered by Ecotricity's 100% clean energy (some of which is supplied by solar panels on its roof). But that's just one element of its environmental stewardship.
From being the world's first and only vegan football club and achieving carbon-neutral certification through to playing on an 'organic' football pitch which is cut by a solar-powered lawmower dubbed the 'mow-bot' – sustainability now runs through virtually all aspects of the organisation.
In the above video, edie's former Insight Editor George Ogleby is given full, behind-the-scenes access at the club's New Lawn Stadium on a matchday; to find out what impact this newfound sustainability vision is having on the Forest Green Rovers' players, staff and fans.
During the five-minute video, Ogleby meets Forest Green Rovers chairman Vince – who discusses his vision to move the club to a stadium built entirely from sustainable wood – along with the club's groundsman and head chef, and a 'superfan'; providing a unique insight into how sustainability can enhance stakeholder relationships in sport.
As revealed in the video, Forest Green Rovers’ sustainability strategy also includes:
- Water collection from under the pitch for irrigation purposes
- Organised carpools for players to cut transport-related carbon emissions
- Player access to electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf
- The ground is signed up to the world’s first national motorway charging network and fast chargers are available for the public free of charge.
- All waste cooking oil is recycled into biofuel
- Other grass cuttings are collected by local farmers who use them to improve his soil.
- Using phosphate-free washing powder to wash the kits (these are also washed on a lower temperature).
- A redecoration programme using eco paints