Ex-Manchester United footballer’s new foundation aims to promote higher levels of sustainability in sports

Source: Twyford

Former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville has launched a new foundation aimed at promoting higher standards of sustainability in sport and reducing the wider environmental impact of sports events, such as the Olympics.

Neville has partnered with Dale Vince, founder of energy company Ecotricity and chairman of Forest Green Rovers FC, to set up the Sustainability in Sport foundation.

The foundation is aimed at encouraging sports governing bodies, clubs and fans take more responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of sport.

Gary Neville said: “The environmental impact of sport is massive but often overlooked - with the Olympics putting sport at the forefront of people’s minds, we believe the time is right to launch a green revolution in sport.

“Sporting stars are role-models for people throughout the world and delivering messages on sustainability through sport can reach a diverse global audience.”

Sustainability in Sport will aim to:

  • set eco-standards for stadiums, sports pitches and procurement,
  • partner with a cutting-edge technology companies to develop technology that helps clubs produce their own renewable energy and improve energy efficiency to reduce costs and carbon footprints
  • run workshops and sharing expertise on improving the sustainability of stadiums and achieve the EU’s EMAS standard that maps and audits environmental performance
  • partner with suppliers and manufacturers of sustainable materials, sports equipment and support services
  • use Forest Green Rovers as a grassroots test-bed to show how sporting clubs can audit their environmental performance - then retrofit technologies and introduce practices to provide eco-solutions - such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric robot lawn-mowers, organic pitches, recycling water, low energy lights, locally sourced food.

Vince said: “The Olympics organisers have made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact and we applaud them for it, but there is no getting away from the fact that the London Olympics still had a massive carbon footprint - the equivalent of adding an extra city the size of Cardiff to the UK.

“The Olympics are a big event but they only happen once every four years. We need sport to be sustainable day-in day-out from the grassroots level upwards - we aim to help governing bodies, clubs and fans reduce the environmental impact of sport.

“Sustainability in Sport is about changing the rules of the game and putting environmental issues at the heart of all sport. As Gary says: nothing short of a revolution.”