The first EMAS registered football club worldwide

UK football club Forest Green Rovers is dedicated to becoming a truly sustainable football club with EMAS

Every six months the European EMAS Helpdesk publishes the official EMAS statistics including the leading sectors in which EMAS registered organisations are active. Currently the top three sectors are “waste and disposal” with 466 active organisations, “public administrations” with 399 active organisations and “electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply” with 275 active organisations. Right at the other end of the spectrum the sector “football clubs” may not be the first one you think of when you think environmental management, but developments here deserve no less attention. The sector has its first entry with The Forest Green Rovers FC from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England who are taking a very good shot at reaching excellent environmental performance!

From its foundation in 1889 until 2010 the Forest Green Rovers would have been perceived as an ordinary football club playing in the British Conference League. In 2010, however, when the club became a majority owned subsidiary of Ecotricity, a green energy company based in the nearby town of Stroud, this image was about to change dramatically. The club’s new sponsor had ambitious plans for the Forest Green Rovers: making it the most sustainable football club in Britain, possibly worldwide.

“EMAS is the gold standard in environmental management and reporting (…). We’re still the only football club in the world to have an actual EMAS accreditation – and we’re very proud of that.”
(Forest Green Rovers’ environmental statement 2015)

It is the club’s declared goal to promote sustainable thinking among its fans and to the wider world of sport. To measure its environmental impacts and systematically reduce them, the club officially introduced EMAS in 2012: “EMAS is a great tool to measure what we’re doing. It shows us the results of our sustainability work at the club and helps us to improve”.[1]

To reduce its environmental impact the club started to collect the water from under the pitch to use it for pitch irrigation, installed solar panels along the stadium roof and now treats its lawn according to organic principles. It even revised its catering plan by increasing percentages of local and organic ingredients and completely taking meat off the menu. According to the Forest Green Rovers they serve the first ever meat-free football menu.

With the help of EMAS the club is aiming to further improve its environmental performance. If you would like to learn more about the Forest Green Rover’s environmental commitment and its environmental targets for this season just visit their website or download their environmental statement.

[1] Forest Green Rovers’ environmental statement 2015