Four Sports Teams and Companies Doing Their Part For the Environment
Environment and sustainability are not typically two worlds that your mind’s eye conjures up when you think about professional sports teams. The world of professional sports is a result-based industry, with teams and athletes doing everything in their power to win. However, there are some franchises and teams around the world that are intrinsically linked to the environment and long-term sustainability. Teams that are not only aware of their impact on the environment but also go to great lengths to ensure they are positively impacting the world around them.
Forest Green Rovers
You are forgiven for not knowing about the British soccer team, Forest Green Rovers, despite them being 133 years old and being the world’s front-runners regarding being environmentally friendly. Affectionately known as “the little club on the hill,” Forest Green Rovers plays in English soccer’s fourth tier, a level sports betting sites often forget. Forest Green Rovers may be a small club, but they have a monumental positive impact on the world around them.
First, Forest Green Rovers is officially the first-ever vegan professional soccer team worldwide. The players’ restaurant and the matchday eateries’ milk-based products are replaced with oat milk and soy, while hamburgers and hotdogs, match-going supporters’ go-to foods, are vegetarian versions. The club aims to vastly reduce animal meat production, lowering carbon emissions.
In 2018, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced Forest Green Rovers were the first soccer club worldwide to be certified carbon neutral. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, describes the club as “the greenest team in the world.”
The team plays at The New Lawn Stadium, which features 200 solar panels that provide more than 25% of the stadium’s electricity needs. In addition, the fully organic pitch (another world first) is conditioned using collected rainwater. At the same time, a robot lawnmower, which takes its power from the aforementioned solar panels, keeps the playing surface at the optimal length. The club donates grass cutting from the pitch to local farmers to condition their soil, while the club’s kitchens send waste cooking oil to be recycled into biofuel.
Forest Green Rovers are building a 5,000-capacity stadium constructed entirely from wood, the most eco-friendly building material. Wood has long been used for small homes in Japan, Scandinavia, and the United States, but an increasing number of corporations are turning to wood for their offices and stadia. Some 10% of global carbon emissions stem from the construction industry. Using wood instead of concrete and steel not only reduces those emissions, but CO2 remains stored in it.
The Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) play their home fixtures at one of the greenest NFL stadiums. The Lincoln Financial Field opened to the public on August 3, 2003, at the cost of $512 million. Although the stadium mainly comprises of steel, the Philadelphia Eagles have several initiatives that help reduce the complex’s vast carbon footprint.
First, the stadium uses LED lighting throughout, while its scoreboards and television screens are also LED. Some 11,000 solar panels are dotted around the stadium and the surrounding grounds, while a 14-turbine wind farm is on the venue’s roof. Those sustainable energy sources produce six times more electricity than the Philadelphia Eagles require for a typical home game.
The Philadelphia Eagles are also committed to reducing the waste produced during home games. With an average home attendance north of 69,000, the team creates a lot of waste through food and beverage sales. However, less than 1% of the game day waste ends up in landfills, with most of the packaging the catering teams use is biodegradable.
Adidas and Parlay for the Oceans
It is not only sports clubs and teams doing their part for the environment but also sports equipment manufacturers. On that front, few companies are of the size and scale as Adidas. Since Earth Day 2015, Adidas has been a key partner with NGO Parlay for the Oceans, and the work they are doing is phenomenal.
Some eight million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually, causing havoc with marine biology. Within 12 months of partnering with Parlay for the Oceans, Adidas completely removed plastic bags from its stores. Adidas has also banned plastic bottles in all of its headquarters and ended using plastic microbeads across all licensed body care products.
However, it is Adidas’ concept shoes that are making the most significant improvements to the environment. Adidas unveiled a concept shoe at the United Nations in 2015. The Ultra Boost prototype’s uppers are made of filaments and yarns reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. An estimated 100,000 marine mammals die from these discarded gillnets each year. Adidas produced one million pairs of shoes from reclaimed and recycled plastic in 2017 and a staggering 15 million in 2020.
Tennis’ Internationaux de Strasbourg
You may not think tennis produces much waste or significantly impacts the environment, but every sport and organization can do its part in preserving our amazing planet. Since 2010, the Women’s Internationaux de Strasbourg has implemented almost 80 environmentally responsible initiatives and plans to help the tournament achieve carbon neutrality.
Seventy percent of the food and drink restaurants at the tournament’s venue sells are locally sourced, organic, and seasonal, while a long-running partnership with BWM sees teams travel to and from their hotels via electric and hybrid motor vehicles.
Perhaps the best scheme is known as New Balls. Tennis balls are difficult to recycle due to their rubber and plastic construction. Millions of tennis balls end up in landfills yearly, but more are turned into children’s play area surfaces, mats, and landing pads. Those heading to the Internationaux de Strasbourg to watch the tennis are encouraged to bring at least 12 used tennis balls with them. They can exchange those old balls for four official tennis balls used by the players during the event. The New Balls scheme has gathered approximately 30,000 tennis balls in the past decade.