As co-founder of an electric vehicle charging business and with a lifetime spent in football, I am naturally interested in the sustainability policies of professional football clubs.

The Government is committed to implementing a range of measures so that by 2050 the UK will be a non-contributor to global warming. One of the key measures is the transition from petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles to electric and other zero emission vehicles. They are offering big tax incentives to make the switch attractive to consumers. In this way we can all do our bit personally to reverse climate change and help save the planet. The reality however is that people will not use an electric vehicle if the electric charging infrastructure is not available. The truth is simple, we have a long way to go before we can reach our net zero goal.

Football clubs tend to have large car park areas and you would expect by now most clubs would have made provision for charging units to be installed at their grounds. This is not only to provide a service to their fans, but it is also an opportunity to monetise the units and bring revenue into the club.

From the latest research available the situation with Premier League clubs as regards charging points is that only Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester City and Sheffield United have them at their stadiums and/or training grounds.

The picture for the other clubs is unclear. Some do not have any parking available on-site and others are actively promoting themselves as a public transport venue.

If you widen the discussion to the sustainability policies of Premier League clubs then the findings make interesting reading. Spurs is the greenest club and are one of only four Premier League clubs to sign up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework. The other three are Arsenal, Liverpool and Southampton. Two of those have gone much further and launched very progressive initiatives known as Liverpool’s The Red Way and Southampton’s The Halo Effect. It would be a positive step if the other 16 clubs were to sign up to the Framework as not to do so sends out all the wrong signals.

In an independent survey clubs were scored against a range of sustainability criteria and marked for clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, plastic reduction or removal, waste management, water efficiency, plant based or low-carbon food options and communications and engagement. Clubs were awarded bonus points if they actively engaged fans towards positive behavioural change that reduces environmental impact in their own lives and if the club track and report on percentage of fans taking various modes of transportation to matches.

Looking at two criteria that clubs can directly control, clean energy and energy efficiency, the Premier League Sustainability Table looks like this:

Source: https://www.sportpositivesummit.com/epl-sustainability-table-2020/

There is no doubt that Premier League clubs need to do more. It does not send out a good message that only four of the 20 clubs have signed up for the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and the other 16 clubs need to step up to the plate.  In tandem with that, clubs need to up their game with regard to the provision of electric vehicle charging points which can earn them income as well as providing a service.

Virtus Energy stands ready to help them and they only need to ask!

Peter Varney – Chairman Integral Sports Management

Image – Getty Images

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