Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Bradford City have already achieved the Carbon Trust standard but the organisation is calling on the hundreds of other clubs to engage in a sustainability title race.

Manchester United lead the way however, after scoring a sustainability standards hat-trick in July when it added a third standard to its sustainability trophy cabinet.

The combined carbon savings of these clubs totalled nearly 8,000 tonnes of CO2 which is the equivalent to approximately £1.2m in energy savings.

Carbon Trust managing director of certification Darran Messem, admitted that while football clubs are not the worst carbon offenders they exerted a lot of influence.

“Football clubs have relatively small carbon footprints compared to other industries, however they exert a huge level of influence. By demonstrating their own action on sustainability they can show leadership and encourage others, whether businesses or fans, to see the benefits of taking action,” he said.

The letter reinforced football’s role model attributes:

“We appreciate that football clubs are central pillars of the communities they represent, whilst also wielding wider influence through their fan base. By communicating what you are doing you can inspire individuals and organisations to take measures to reduce their impact on the environment,” it said.

Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, said: “Football clubs and indeed the wider sporting community are in a very privileged position to influence and inspire generations of fans to live more sustainably.

“Reducing our impact on the environment is an important area for everyone to act on and we must learn new ways of doing things. Of course this cannot be a solely virtuous effort and we must recognise that football clubs are also businesses so need to see commercial benefits in taking action on climate change.

“However, encouragingly, we see from clubs like those achieving the Carbon Trust Standard that by taking action on carbon they can not only improve their environmental standing but also be more efficient and save money.”

Conor McGlone

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