The English Football League (EFL) has today (October 11) announced the launch of ‘EFL Green Clubs’, a new League wide scheme that will help support clubs across the country to improve their environmental practices and operations.
In a first for football, the scheme sees the EFL joining forces with GreenCode, – the new environmental accreditation scheme born from the work of environmentalist Dale Vince and the team at Forest Green Rovers, who pioneered work at the League Two club – helping it become recognised by the United Nations and FIFA as the world’s greenest football club.
With the aim to share that expertise across its 72 members, EFL Green Clubs will include an accreditation scheme that will benchmark clubs' environmental rating, provide bespoke guidance and practical advice to help clubs implement change and recognise those that excel in this area.
EFL Green Clubs will see the EFL provide funding to enable any club to access the scheme, while the EFL as an organisation will also be undertaking a GreenCode assessment to help improve its own environmental practice.
Participating clubs will receive an independent assessment of their environmental credentials with a GC Mark the goal to achieve.
Those clubs at the start of their environmental improvement journey will be supported by the GreenCode Improvement Plan.
In addition, the EFL Trust, the charitable arm of the EFL, will be putting in place a sustainable development coordinator and will be encouraging all Club Community Organisation’s to employ a sustainable development officer through the extended Kickstart programme. These roles will also have access to an accredited Environmental Sustainability qualification.
Trevor Birch, EFL chief executive, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today and therefore it is vitally important that the EFL and its clubs take steps to improve and minimise our environmental impact.
“Professional football will not be immune to the effects of the climate crisis and there has never been a more important time for the EFL and its clubs to make a collective commitment in this area.
“A number of our clubs are already taking practical steps to become more sustainable and using the expertise of the global leader in our ranks, we hope EFL Green Clubs will provide an opportunity for every club in our competition to continue, enhance or begin their journey to a more sustainable future.”
Dale Vince, founder of GreenCode, added: “GreenCode distils everything we’ve learned from a decade of greening up Forest Green Rovers – and creating the global standard in sustainability. We’re here to help anybody on the road to net zero – that’s what GreenCode is for.
"We’re excited to get this initiative off the ground and the icing on the cake for us is to be launching with our very own league, the EFL. By embracing sustainability as an issue and a collective responsibility serves as a perfect example to others.”
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Forest Green Rovers have rightly been recognised by the UN and FIFA as pioneers of the green football club and it is fantastic to see their pioneering ways now being adopted right across the league.
"COP26 in Glasgow is now just around the corner and the EFL Green Clubs initiative rightly puts football clubs front and centre of those sectors doing their bit for the planet."