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Worcester Warriors join UN climate pact in European rugby first

English Premiership team Worcester Warriors has become the first professional rugby club in Europe to join the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible consumption.

The Warriors join a number of leading sports bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and European Professional Club Rugby in supporting the initiative.

As a signatory to the UN framework, the Warriors become part of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change. The club is also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030, and to be net-zero by 2040.

In signing up to the initiative, which is also backed by football clubs Arsenal, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, the Warriors will publish an annual emissions report. The initiative forms part of the Warriors’ Time for Change programme of improvements and developments at its Sixways stadium.

The team has already changed all office printers at Sixways to facilitate swipe-card access to reduce the amount of wasted paper. The Warriors also use returnable cups on match days and have introduced recycled food trays and retail packaging.

All general waste from Sixways is also used to generate energy rather than to be taken to landfill sites. A programme is also underway to turn all lights at the stadium into sensor LEDs.

Warriors managing director Peter Kelly said: “The threat to our planet posed by global warming is clear and obvious and there are a number of simple and positive steps that we can take, both individually and collectively, to protect the environment.

“As a club we have already introduced a number of important measures at Sixways to reduce our carbon footprint and improve sustainability. But there is much more that we can and will do. Sustainability and protecting the environment are now at the forefront of many of the decisions we will make as a club and business.

“Our support for the UN Sport for Climate Action demonstrates our commitment to the cause and, as the first Gallagher Premiership club and first professional rugby club in Europe to sign up to the UN Framework, we are proud to be leaders in this field.”

Participants in the UN Sports for Global Climate Action Framework commit to adhere to five key principles: undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility; reduce overall climate impact; educate for climate action; promote sustainable and responsible consumption; and advocate for climate action through communication.

Image: Luke239/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size