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The World's Greenest Footie Club

The World's Greenest Footie Club

22nd March 2021
By: Justine - F&F

What does football (soccer) have to do with veganism? Apart from a lot of top athletes switching to a plant-based diet, there hasn't been a huge connection— until now! Introducing the world's greenest football club, Forest Green Rovers!

We wouldn't consider ourselves 'soccer fanatics', but we may have just found a new team to root for. We're in a few groups on Facebook and stumbled across a post about this team (thanks Sandra) and had to post about. If you like soccer and sustainability, you'll love this blog! 

Who Are The Forest Green Rovers? 100% Vegan Soccer Team Who Are The Forest Green Rovers? 100% Vegan Soccer Team

Who Are The Forest Green Rovers?

The Forest Green Rovers are a professional UK Football club based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England. The team competes in League Two, the fourth tier of English football which is three divisions below the EPL (English Premier League). 

The team has been around since 1889. In 2010 they faced some heavy financial issues and approached Dale Vince, (now owner and club chairman) to help turn the team around. 

Since bringing Vince on, they've become the first and only certified vegan football club, received a carbon-neutral certification from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and are building the world’s greenest stadium to raise the importance of sustainability in sport. More on this below. 

Forest Green Rangers - Vegan Menu Forest Green Rangers - Vegan Menu

A Completely Vegan Soccer Team

In 2017 FGR was officially recognised as the world’s first vegan football club by switching not only their game day match menu to 100% vegan food but also meals cooked for the players. 

Their striker Reuben Reid loved it so much, he switched to a completely vegan diet and said since becoming vegan his stamina recovery time has improved, times five.

You can still get a classic game-day meal and burgers are definitely not off the menu; they're now made from plants! The stadium's mouth-watering menu includes pies, vegan pizzas, fajitas, salads, and sweet potato fries. The menu changes each matchday weekend, based on the availability of locally sourced ingredients.

Their food has become so popular that they've launched their own food brand, Devil’s Kitchen which can now be found in schools, colleges, and universities around the country and soon in supermarkets.

Solar-Powered Robot Lawn Mower Solar-Powered Robot Lawn Mower

Green Energy Used At The Club

The club owner and chairman, Dale Vince is the CEO of Ecotricity, a green energy company so naturally, he made some sustainable changes to the team from the very start.

Dale had solar panels installed on top of the stadium, making the entire club powered by 100% green energy.

They also started collecting rainwater to reuse and irrigate the pitch, recycled the kitchen's cooking oil into biofuel, and the coolest change of all? Solar-powered lawnmowers nicknamed the 'mowbot' (pictured) that mow the pitch. 

The grass is also a completely organic pitch that is free from pesticides and weed killers. They've really thought of everything! 

Eco Park - New Stadium for Forest Green RoversEco Park - New Stadium for Forest Green Rovers

Eco Park - The New Home For FGR

In 2016, the club announced plans to build a new 5,000 seat stadium to be made almost entirely out of wood. In December 2019, plans to build Eco Park we approved by the EFL (English Football League. The stadium was designed by world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid.

Around 500 trees and 1.8km of hedgerows will be planted at the site to promote biodiversity. Electric vehicle and bike charging stations will be available at the stadium to promote green transportation. The new stadium will have the lowest carbon footprint of any stadium in the world. 

What will happen to the old stadium you ask? The club plans to have high quality, low carbon housing built where The innocent New Lawn currently stands. 

2020/21 Home Shorts - Forest Green Rovers2020/21 Home Shorts - Forest Green Rovers

Partners Of The Team 

It only makes sense for this completely vegan soccer team to partner with other vegan companies and organisations doing great work for the environment. Forest Green Rovers partner with Sea Shepherd (whom we love), Oatly, Quorn and a few other non-food related companies. 

Their jerseys or 'kits' are made by PlayerLayer using 50% bamboo to help reduce the use of plastic traditionally used in sports gear. They also partner with Faith in Nature who turn their grass cuttings from the pitch into handwash! You can read more about their sustainable partners on their website here

 

So, if there's any football club to follow, it's this one! We hope some other football clubs will follow suit and set an example for all sports teams, athletes and spectators around the world. Dale Vince also has a really cool podcast called Zerocarbonista that's all about sustainability and green energy, give it a listen! 

If you liked this blog, you might like our other Eco News blogs:

Global Recycling Day

South Australia Bans Single-Use Plastics

From Cattle Farming to Organic, Vegan Produce

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