Man United’s resource efficiency drive saves supply chain £500k

Manchester United Football Club has reduced material consumption across its business by nearly 20% over the past eight years by working closely with its supply chain, achieving cost savings of £500,000.

Speaking at the Sustainability Leaders Forum in London yesterday (November 3), Manchester United FC’s lead environmental advisor, Michael Goodfellow-Smith, said the Premier League club had been running a national level best practice programme with its supply chain to improve resource efficiency.

He said: “We are working closely with each supplier on a prioritised list and have asked them about the product service we get from them and how we can get it more efficiently.”

Goodfellow-Smith disclosed that the club’s suppliers had made about £500,000 in savings through the programme, but estimated the actual savings were higher. He also highlighted improvements in resource use, including the use of reed-bed technology, borehole water and grey water recycling.

“The kit that the players wear is made from recycled plastic; we have managed to get that in this year,” he said. “Trainers are recycled from the players and from the supporters. The pitch-side track and where the players run down from the changing room are made from trainers that the players wore and the supporters wore.”

The club says it now sends zero waste to landfill. However, with a 20% recycling rate and a 80% recovery rate, Goodfellow-Smith told delegates that the club still had a long way to go if it was to reuse its resources more productively.

Goodfellow-Smith said that during the match period, significant amounts of waste are generated and have to be segregated and managed out to the compactor areas, very quickly. He added that the club reused and recycled a range of products including glass and plastic cans, green waste, carpets, office stationery and IT equipment.

“We have a campaign, which is called ‘Reds go Green’. I know it’s corny. I meant it as a joke, but it’s been there for 10 years,” he said. “The staff run their own ‘Reds go Green’ campaign. All of the staff in the canteen knows where the recycling material goes. There’s no enforcement; everybody does it.”

Nick Warburton

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