Premier League football clubs now required to publish ‘robust’ sustainability policies
England’s Premier League football clubs have committed to developing their own environmental sustainability policies by the end of next season, in a bid to establish a minimum standard of sustainable action across the clubs and the League.
The Premier League stated late last week that this is now a requirement for all clubs, by the end of the 2024-5 season. Policies will build on existing progress made by the football clubs to reduce their environmental impact.
Moreover, the commitment requires the clubs to appoint a designated senior employee to spearhead the sustainability action.
Last year, research found evidence of more than 80 individual short-haul domestic flights made by Premier League teams to and from just 100 matches during a two-month period.
According to the UK Government’s now-disbanded Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, emissions per kilometre travelled with short-haul flights are known to be significantly worse than any other form of transport.
As part of the commitment, the clubs will also need to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dataset, encompassing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, by the end of the 2025/26 season.
Additionally, the football clubs will work collectively to develop a standardised football-wide approach to measuring emissions.
These measures have been agreed upon following consultations with the Premier League football clubs and the Premier League Sustainability Working Group, which was established last year to help shape and guide environmental practices across the League.
Oxford United’s sustainability pledge
In related news, Oxford United, a Sky Bet League One football club, has signed the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, an initiative aimed at supporting and guiding sports organisations in tackling climate change, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The initiative, launched in 2018, has more than 250 signatories worldwide, including FIFA, UEFA, The FA, the International Olympic Committee, Formula 1, Sky Sports and BBC Sport.
Oxford United is the 13th English football club to sign the pledge following Birmingham County Football Association, Bristol City Football, Liverpool Football Club and Oxford United Football Club Limited, to name a few.
The club is committed to halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2040.
Oxford United’s chief executive officer Tim Williams said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face, and football has an important role to play in tackling it.
“Oxford United is committed to improving sustainability in the English Football League and are proud to have signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
“This is a club-wide commitment across all our operations, and we have a clear strategy to ensure we become one of English football’s most environmentally friendly clubs.”
As part of its net-zero commitment, the club is building a state-of-the-art low-carbon 16,000-capacity stadium at the Triangle in Kidlington.
The stadium will use low-impact materials in the build as well as sustainable sources of power, including 3,000m2 of solar panels to generate electricity and heat recovery solutions to maximise thermal efficiency.
The facility will use heat pumps, which are anticipated to provide an estimated 80% reduction in CO2 emissions per year in comparison to gas boilers.
The club is also planning to include drainage systems, rain storage and recycling solutions at the establishment, while adding gardens and public spaces to improve the biodiversity in the area.
Williams added: “The Stadium will act as a blueprint for future design and transform how modern stadia operate with the future of our planet in mind.”