Forest Green Rovers has been ranked as the most sustainable club in the English Football League, according to a new study collated by Sport Positive, which supports the sports industry towards increased action and ambition on climate change.
The Sport Positive Leagues have gathered a large cross-section of information on the environmental sustainability efforts of clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two. It has shared information and rankings for each division and also collated this into a combined league.
Forest Green, which has been identified by FIFA as the greenest football club in the world, ranked first in both the League One and combined league with a perfect score. In the Championship, the top three clubs were Bristol City, Norwich City and Watford.
In League One, Plymouth Argyle and Charlton Athletic came in second and third, respectively. In League Two, Rochdale and Crewe Alexandra came joint first, while Grimsby Town came in third.
Last month, Forest Green chairman Dale Vince announced that work on the club’s all-wooden stadium (pictured) had commenced. The club currently plays at The New Lawn, which has had a number of eco-friendly naming-rights sponsors over the years. It is currently sponsored by mobility app Bolt.
Following the release of the Sports Positive Leagues rankings, Vince said: “It’s great to see the extent to which sustainability in football has become a thing, almost but not yet – an accepted part of the game. Ten years ago we were a lone voice with a radical idea, today it’s fast becoming normal, not just in English football but internationally too – and indeed the whole world of sport.
“Football clubs have the same responsibility as everyone else to take care of their impact on the world – but we also have a unique opportunity few others have – a platform from which to inform and influence billions of people. That’s happening now.”
Bristol City has been recognised as the Championship’s most sustainable club after launching its Project Whitebeam strategy in partnership with the Bristol Bears, Bristol Flyers, Ashton Gate and Bristol Sport in August last year.
The club is also a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and one of only four EFL clubs that has Race to Zero targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and being net zero by 2040.
Peter Smith, head of change and sustainability at Bristol City, said: “This reflects hard work by a lot of people across the club to tackle the challenge holistically and shows we’ve made a good start on Project Whitebeam. However, we all have a long way to go and we’re really keen that everyone – fans, players, staff, sponsors and suppliers – come on that journey with us.”
Sport Positive founder Claire Poole added: “Across all three divisions there are great examples of leadership from many EFL clubs, we congratulate those clubs for their efforts towards a sustainable future.
“For those clubs that aren’t as far ahead, we hope that the publication of this information raises awareness, and that support and progress continues apace. The EFL’s Green Clubs scheme has provided a framework for clubs to build upon and develop alongside their own initiatives.
“Football provides such an incredible platform to drive collective action in tackling the climate crisis, and as the recent IPCC report highlighted, we are running out of time – but the power is in our hands.”