Which football clubs are waving the flag for sustainability?

With private jets and huge stadiums to power, does the sport industry do enough to care for the environment? You may be pleasantly surprised.

It has been a rocky time for some football teams, with managers getting sacked, replaced or facing heavy criticism but still sticking around. The main question on my mind: which clubs are doing the best job at managing sustainability?

Have you ever wondered how green is your team? Well now you can find out. BBC Sport partnered up with the United Nations-backed Sport Positive Summit to report on which Premier League clubs make a conscious effort to be sustainable.

The conclusions were achieved using a point system, where the club scored a point for each category they proved to be taking action for. There were eight categories. These included initiatives such as sustainable transport and clean energy.

Arsenal came in at the top of the leader board, admittedly due to alphabetical order but also because of their sustainability practises.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hywel Sloman, Arsenal’s operations director, said: “I think every generation is significantly more environmentally aware than that last one – so I think we have a responsibility to our younger fans to actually ensure that we are providing that role model and that leadership for them”.

In 2018, the club installed a battery system that can hold enough energy to power the stadium for the entire 90 minute match. Plus, their project with renewable energy provider Octopus has prevented 5.7 million kilograms of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere.

In this study, Arsenal scored eight points, along with Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Whilst some clubs are hitting the post when it comes to sustainability, these four teams are well on target.

Explaining his motivation behind being sustainable, Peter Bradshaw, Manchester City’s head of sustainability, states: “It’s about how to behave properly, engaging local people – and how thinking about the environment and social values really makes a difference to people’s lives in this city”.

Speaking for Tottenham Hotspur, their chairman Daniel Levy described: “I am delighted that we have now brought our values to the new stadium to both play our part in the reduction of single-use plastics and raise awareness of the importance of doing so.”

A representative for Manchester United explained that “the club is certified to the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon which recognises the achievement in managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.

Whilst there are many other premier league clubs doing their bit, these four teams display a particularly impressive commitment to protecting the environment.

Although there is a hierarchy of football clubs in terms of ability and popularity, it is still important to consider the efforts of smaller, less well known teams in working towards sustainability.

Forest Green Rovers, suitably named, have been described by FIFA as the greenest football club in the world. So what is so special about FGR? Where do I start…they are completely vegan, play from an organic pitch without pesticides and provide electric vehicle charging points at their ground. This is just to name a few of their out-going initiatives.

By ‘greening up football’, they are certainly setting the tone for other clubs to be inspired and to get on board.

The teams putting their foot down to prevent on going destruction to our planet ought to be applauded, and encouraged to continue their positive work. Especially since football is an extremely well documented and highly thought of sport, clubs have the power to share persuasive pledges, which will help shape the future for the better.