Which football teams scored the highest in the Sustainability League?
We follow up from the 2020 Sustainability Football League ranking with the winners of 2021. For an incredible third year running Tottenham Hotspur have topped the Premier League sustainability table. But they are not the only winners. Although they did not manage to top the Premier League this year, Liverpool Football Club was tied in first place in the Sustainability League, with an impressive jump from last year’s 5th place.
What is the Sustainability League in Football?
Started by the United Nations Sport Positive and published by BBC Sport in 2019, the Sustainability League assesses the sustainability initiatives of all 20 Premier League Football Clubs. The rankings are updated each year. All football clubs are required to submit evidence of efforts in 11 categories. Two points are allocated for each category, as well as two bonus points, totalling a maximum of 24 points.
In the 2021 league, Tottenham and Liverpool scored a fantastic 23/24 points!
How did the winning football clubs top the Sustainability League?
We explore some of the innovative projects the two top teams of the Sustainability League have undertaken in the past year.
- Liverpool FC
In 2021 Liverpool FC launched The Red Way strategy, which has been externally certified to ISO20121 gaining the club a bonus point.
New winners, Liverpool FC are signatories of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and are well on their way to achieving net zero by 2040.
Here are some of Liverpool FC’s sustainability wins for 2021:
- Electricity and gas for the club’s UK operated sites is currently from renewable sources.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting systems
- Improved efficiencies in water usage and waste reduction
- Free cycle hub at the stadium to encourage fans to cycle to matches
- Cycle to Work scheme for staff
- EV charging points at the AXA Training Centre
- Reusable “bottoms up” cups available at Anfield.
- Collection and recycling of plastics into new bottles through a partnership with SC Johnson.
- 98,7% waste diverted from landfill in 2020
- Waste audits conducted across all LFC sites helping to identify all waste streams and investigate reduction options
- Water saving programs at Academy, AXA Training Centre and stadium, Academy and AXA Training Centre have a Waste2Water facility, new borehole and storage tank, all new developments have water efficient taps.
- Vegetarian and vegan options for staff, players and visitors
- All food is sourced locally, supporting the local economy and saving 37 tonnes CO2e
- Over 900 new trees, hedges and bushes planted.
- The Red Neighbours programme has integrated environmental sustainability education into its work with local schools, players have been educated in various environmental campaigns and initiatives.
- LFC Foundation joined Planet Super League in 2021 and, to date, fans have completed over 1000 activities, resulting in emissions reductions over 7,220kg CO2, the equivalent to planting 411 trees.
- Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham are now proud signatories of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, and are committed to halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero carbon by 2040.
Here are some of the cool sustainability initiatives the club has implemented:
- Travelling to matches in coaches powered by biofuel. This has helped to reduce carbon emissions by 80%
- Cycle to Work scheme for staff
- Installation of water fountains to reduce the reliance on single-use plastics
- LED lighting across the stadium and training facilities. This contributed to the club receiving a BREEAM rating of excellent for energy efficiency.
- Zero Scope 2 emissions with a 100% reliance on renewable energy.
- Green roof to capture rainwater and re-harvest across the training centre
- Plant-based meal options on match days
- Local and sustainably sourced food
- Planting of hundreds of new trees, tens of thousands of new plants, hedges and flowers
- Two additional wildlife ponds, 25 bug hotels and multiple bat houses
- Training of staff, players and local youth on environmental sustainability
- Hosted Game Zero- first net zero carbon football match at an elite level
Forest Green Rovers
This piece would be incomplete if we did not acknowledge the Forest Green Rovers Football Club for their fantastic sustainability initiatives. Recognised by FIFA as the ‘world’s greenest football club, the league two club is the only UN-certified carbon neutral football club and was the first football club to travel to an event in an electric coach in April 2022.
Forest Green’s New Lawn ground is powered by 100% renewable energy from Ecotricity and the pitch is proudly organic, free from any pesticides. Match-day meals are fully vegan and here are plans for the club to move to a new stadium called the Eco Park which will be made entirely from wood.
The PlayerLayer Forest Green Rovers 2021-2022 home jersey is made from waste coffee grounds and recycled water bottles. For the fans, a lower-priced fan edition manufactured from the club’s existing sustainable bamboo fabric is available.
The club has installed refill drinking water stations for the players and staff and this will be rolled out across the stadium for fans as well, working towards eliminating single-use plastic bottles and inching the club closer to its zero waste to landfill goal.
Waste Management at Football Clubs
It is exciting to note the increasing spotlight on the role of waste management in sports, particularly in football clubs. Linking back to our previous instalment on Guidelines for efficient and effective waste management strategies at soccer clubs, Don’t Waste appreciates and supports the commitments by Liverpool Football Club, Tottenham Hotspur and Forest Green Rovers to reducing their reliance on single use plastic, improving recycling through sorting at source, and conducting waste audits.
Don’t Waste looks forward to supporting the sustainability initiatives and zero waste goals at more football and other sporting clubs.
Don’t Waste provides industry leading business intelligence, site management, and waste management services to Property, Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Hospitality industries. Our customers include the world’s leading property management groups. To find out more about our innovative value-added systems and services in onsite waste operations, contact:
Linus Naik- Group General Manager: Sustainability & Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +27 82 552 0675).
Michael Foreman- UK Managing Director and International Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +44 7939 027193).