This is by no means the first football-related blog on here – and we hope there’s enough going on in the game as regards sustainability for it not to be the last.
It comes as no surprise that –arguably – the North East’s major football force has stepped up its green game. The region is the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area, with plans to boost renewables, electric car take-up and more.
But back to the footy. The club’s doing well for itself in terms of both carbon emissions reduction and tightening its belt to boot: it’s reached Carbon Trust Standard, and saved £200k on its energy bills, probably paying for at least two players’ weekly wages.
All joking aside, the savings are particularly encouraging, as they seem to show that smart energy management technology, as installed at the club’s training centre and academy, can deliver the real tangible benefits they’re going to need to as they become more ubiquitous in this country over the next few years.
There’s more innovation on show, including a 177-metre deep borehole for pitch irrigation, no less. But there’s no hint of resting on laurels, at least as far as Eddie Rutherford, Newcastle United facilities manager goes:
“Even though we have noticed huge savings over the last few years, there is still a lot of work to do, and I would urge all football clubs to look at how much they are using and ways they can cut down.”
It’s all very promising. But As Newcastle are just the fourth league club to achieve this standard, after Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City, there’s clearly a lot more the highest of the high-profile sports could be doing.
Quite simply, whether accepting it dilutes the soul of the game or not, football clubs are big companies like any other these days – with the same responsibility to set an example domestically and internationally. They can make sustainable business decisions for their own estate, but they can also help in disseminating the domestic energy efficiency message to their loyal fans – as Ipswich Town have proven.
As far as making some major changes goes, the ball is well and truly in the major football outfits’ court. Or perhaps pitch would be more appropriate.