English soccer club Forest Green Rovers have been rewarded for their efforts against climate change by being given an award by the United Nations.
The club in the fourth tier of English soccer – League Two – have been described as the ‘greenest football club in the world’ by world governing body Fifa as they received a Momentum for Change climate action award in New York last week.
Rovers became the world’s first carbon-neutral soccer club in July after years of initiatives helping towards producing renewable energy and promoting sustainable living in the community.
The club’s ground is powered solely by renewable energy, while stadium roofs have solar panels. Other initiatives at the New Lawn stadium in Gloucestershire include recycling rainwater as well as waste cooking oil – turning it into biofuel, while the club use a solar-powered lawnmower to cut their pitch. Rovers also provide electric car charging points at their ground.
Claiming to be the world’s first vegan soccer club, Forest Green also only serve vegan food to players and fans – the players have been banned from eating red meat since 2010.
Club chairman Dale Vince, whose Ecotricity green energy firm powers the stadium, said: “Plenty of people doubted we could make this improbable combination of a football club and the environment work, but it's proven to be a powerful combination.”
Forest Green have also produced results on the pitch with their eco-friendly approach, gaining promotion to the English Football League (EFL) in 2017 and are still unbeaten in their current League Two campaign, drawing seven of their opening ten matches.