Initiative is designed to leverage significant reach of football to help drive green behaviour change
Football clubs and sports broadcasters will this weekend team up to raise awareness of ways their fans can reduce their climate impact.
The Green Football Weekend is a national campaign running until Sunday that has been backed by more than 80 football clubs, Sky Sports, BT Sports, and a raft of charities.
The campaign is aiming to encourage fans to adopt "climate-friendly" habits, including reducing their shower time to four minutes, cutting out meat two days a week, and turning down their thermostats by one degree.
To encourage fans to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, broadcasters and teams will be running social media campaigns to promote the campaign throughout the weekend. Sky said it will add dedicated graphics, mic heads and dashboards to its broadcasts and had scheduled a range of "sustainability-related features". Meanwhile, fans will be urged to score "green goals" for their club, by reporting if they have adopted a more sustainable habit.
To coincide with the campaign, Bristol Rovers FC announced it had signed up to an initiative from A Plastic Planet, which calls for an outright ban on plastic pint cups. From 4 February onwards, the club intends to serve all cold beverages at home games in paper cups, which can be collected and recycled following each game.
Meanwhile, the Doncaster Rovers will be planting a tree locally for every child ticket purchased for its fixture this weekend, and Leyton Orient's captain will sport a green armband.
Sky said the initiative is part of its "ongoing commitment to help fans look after the sports they love and make sure there is always a place to play".
The initiative comes as the world of professional sport comes under increasing scrutiny for its heavy emissions footprint, generated through the construction of new stadiums for tournaments and reliance on international and domestic air travel.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup, marketed by Fifa as a 'carbon neutral' event, has been a source of considerable controversy over both its human rights and environmental record. Campaigners and athletes accused the organisation of greenwashing its carbon footprint, pointing out it had failed to take into account the significant emissions produced over the lifetime of the six permanent stadiums built from scratch for the tournament.
Sports associations and some athletes have also come under fire for accepting sponsorship or signing deals from high-carbon companies, while a number of teams have come under fire for chartering planes for extremely short journeys. Campaigners have warned sports clubs and governing bodies have been guilty of providing emissions-intensive companies with a major platform to promote unsustainable lifestyles and launder their reputation.
In related news, Liverpool FC has become the first Premier League club to achieve certification from the ISO 20121 sustainability standard, across its activities, sites, products and services.
Announcing the news on Wednesday, Hannah Simpkins, vice president of club operations at Liverpool FC, said it was an "amazing honour" to have achieved certification for the standard from the BSI.
"We are very aware of the responsibility we hold as a global football club to help inspire and encourage positive behaviour change," she said. "With hundreds of millions of supporters around the world know we are in a strong position to help influence sustainable decisions in their day-to-day lives which is why its hugely important to us."
* This article was originally published here