News   |    May 12th, 2022

THE GRASS IS GREENER

I was recently involved in an interesting discussion regarding climate change and the negative environmental impacts that unfortunately we see escalating year on year. We must improve our environment by any means necessary but, unfortunately there is a nonchalant approach from some, even within the younger generation, those who should care most. With the world’s CO2 levels now at the highest percentage ever recorded, there is no better time to stimulate debate and conversation about how to address this ongoing crisis.

There is certainly a depth of research into multi-million even billion-pound ventures surrounding renewable energy and the efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. Yet, having the most advanced technologies and innovative engineering account for nothing when it is the smaller components of the process like you and me that have the most influence.

There are vast campaigns that advocate a greener environment, but how about utilising the biggest sport in the world to communicate such an important ethos – football (soccer).

Combining a love for soccer, and an ambition for a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world, Vermont Green FC are an American based team formed by a group of friends. This new team will begin their campaign in the USL League 2, the United State’s fourth tier of soccer. As co-founder Matthew Wolff explains how “Part of the mission is to inspire clubs around the country who are in divisions higher than us and see if they can make environmental justice and environmental responsibility a central part of running a football club.”

Vermont Green’s ultimate objective is to interpret environmental justice as being the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people – regardless of race, colour, national origin or income – when it comes to developing, implementing and enforcing environmental laws, regulations and policies. It is also a social movement fighting for the equal distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.

As part of this, the club have set five key objectives including;

  • To become net zero
  • Fight systemic racism
  • Commit to donating 1% of their annual sales to environmental non-profits
  • Source merchandise that uses recycled or upcycled materials
  • Continue to educate and raise awareness of how to influence change

Meanwhile of course, maintaining their high standards on the pitch just as much as they do off of it, as they take on rivals at the Virtue Field in Burlington. A complex owned by the University of Vermont, with the hope of developing young talent in the process.

Despite no history behind the club, they have certainly become role models off the pitch. An intriguing question is, can they perform on it too? Ultimately, this is a positive step into collaborating social and environmental awareness with the most popular sport in the world, whilst providing the blue print for other clubs on how to operate responsibly in a philanthropical manner. It would be great to see increased investment from the bigger clubs into more environmental and social projects, as opposed to their next superstar footballer. After all, the teams have the best platform to influence change with the wider society, so let’s positively exploit this just like Vermont Green FC.

Image – vermontgreenfc.com

Alfie Bobbins - Integral Sports Management.

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