English League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers has announced it has become the world’s first United Nations certified carbon neutral football club, after signing up to the UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now initiative for the upcoming season.

Forest Green, which has played homes games at The New Lawn since 2006 but is seeking to build a new stadium (pictured), has signed on for the initiative launched by the UN Climate Change group in 2015, aiming at encouraging and supporting all levels of society to take climate action to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement adopted the same year.

The initiative invites companies, organisations, governments and citizens to work towards climate neutrality by reducing their climate footprint through a three-step method.

This entails measuring their greenhouse gas emissions; reducing them as much as possible; and compensating for those which cannot be avoided by using UN certified emission reductions (CERs).

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince, who is also the founder of green energy firm Ecotricity, said: “We’re a small club with big ambitions, and it’s fantastic we can work together to champion the sustainability message worldwide.

“It’s great to be first, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before the big boys like Real Madrid, Man United and the San Francisco 49ers follow our example. I’m personally looking forward to working more with the UN to help spread the word about the environment through football.”

Miguel Naranjo, UNFCCC programme officer in sustainable development mechanisms, added: “For us it’s great, we’re really glad to have Forest Green Rovers on board because it’s an excellent example of the things that you can do right. Getting the club on board means we can transmit that message to other participants and potential participants.

“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.”

Forest Green became the world’s only vegan football club after making the switch to a plant based diet for all players, fans, staff and events two years ago.

Image: Zaha Hadid Architects