Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders has announced plans to go carbon neutral in 2019 and beyond – a move it claims marks a first for the sport in North America.

The team has pledged that its operations, including matches at CenturyLink Field, will make no net contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The club has worked with Seattle-based Sustainable Business Consulting to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions and develop plans to reduce its impacts. For areas such as team travel, scouting and other business, the club is offsetting its emissions through the Evergreen Carbon Capture programme of the sustainability-focused non-profit organisation, Forterra.

Forterra, together with its partner DIRT Corps, will work with the Sounders and fans to plant hundreds of trees in areas where added tree cover is needed. The team said this would help reduce carbon dioxide and enhance air and water quality.

When calculating its footprint, the team included areas such as energy use and waste from home games at CenturyLink Field, emissions generated travelling to and from matches, and Pioneer Square business office operations.

Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer said: “We’re incredibly excited to announce that our club is officially carbon neutral. The Sounders have always been committed to investing in our community, and that includes recognising the immense responsibility we have as environmental stewards.

“Sustainability is a key pillar of our club and this new step is a logical extension of the efforts we have already had in place. We were pleased to work with Sustainable Business Consulting and Forterra in achieving carbon neutrality and look forward to continuing our partnership going forward.”

A tree-planting event will be held this Saturday to kick off the offset programme, with Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer and first-team players to be in attendance.

Image: SounderBruce