The Westminster Diocesan Chaplain for Sport has praised a Sky Bet League Two team after the United Nations certified them as the world’s first carbon-neutral football club.
Forest Green Rovers has signed up to the Climate Neutral Now initiative for the forthcoming season.
The UN campaign, launched in 2015, encourages companies, organisations, governments and citizens to reduce their climate footprints.
“This is indeed great news from the UN,” Mgr Vladimir Felzmann told The Catholic Universe.
“Good to know that football is leading the way,” he continued, “and super to see a minnow teaching the sharks – or is it the dolphins – how to move forward.
“Nature – as so much else – is accelerating. For nature – as a comfortable home for humanity – to survive, humanity has to move forward. Fast,” Mgr Felzmann warned. “The heat and storms this summer do not augur well,” he added.
Club chairman Dale Vince, who is the founder of Ecotricity, said it is an honour to be the first sports club to be named carbon neutral.
“We’re a small club with big ambitions, and it’s fantastic we can work together to champion the sustainability message worldwide.
“It’s great to be first, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before the big boys like Real Madrid, Man United and the San Francisco 49ers follow us.
“I am looking forward to working with the UN to spread the word about the environment through football,” he added.
Miguel Naranjo, from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said it’s great to have Forest Green Rovers on board.
“The beauty about Forest Green Rovers is that it’s a small organisation, with not a massive budget, and still it’s doing so much to address the environmental footprint.
“If Forest Green Rovers can do it, anyone can do it as well.”
It is the club’s latest commitment to being environmentally friendly.
Two years ago, the Nailsworth-based club, which is near Stroud in Gloucestershire, became the world’s first vegan football club after making the switch to a plant-based diet for all players, fans, staff and events.
Forest Green have also launched a new vegan school food range called ‘the Little Green Devils’, which aims to provide healthy meat alternatives in schools.
“Time will tell how a vegan, plant-based diet will impact on performance. It’s worth a try,” said Mgr Felzmann.
This weekend’s Premier League fixtures:
Saturday 11th August
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – 12:30pm
AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff City – 3:00pm
Fulham v Crystal Palace – 3:00pm
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea – 3:00pm
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion – 3:00pm
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton – 5:30pm
Sunday 12th August
Liverpool v West Ham United – 1:30pm
Southampton v Burnley – 1:30pm
Arsenal v Manchester City – 4:00pm
Picture: A general view of The New Lawn Stadium. (Mark Kerton/EMPICS Sport).