Travel and Tourism Body, English Football Club Join Climate Neutral Now Initiative
Photo by Arturo Rivera
story highlights

The World Travel and Tourism Council aims to reduce total travel and tourism carbon emissions by 50% by 2035.

The Forest Green Rovers became the world’s first football club to join the Climate Neutral Now initiative, pledging to measure, reduce and offset emissions during their upcoming season.

The Climate Neutral Now initiative encourages companies, organizations, governments and citizens to reduce their climate footprint by measuring their emissions, reducing them as much as possible and compensating for unavoidable emissions by using certified emission reductions.

13 August 2018: The main body representing the travel and tourism industry and an English football club have signed onto the Climate Neutral Now (CNN) initiative, which was launched by the UNFCCC in 2015 to encourage and support climate action towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Forest Green Rovers (FGR) have taken steps towards reducing their emissions and increasing sustainability in their operations.

WTTC has pledged to measure its emissions, reduce what it can and offset the rest, while encouraging its 150 members to do the same. Travel and tourism generates just over 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP), with WTTC supporting 313 million jobs. WTTC aims to reduce total travel and tourism carbon emissions by 50% by 2035.

Individual stakeholders within the travel and tourism industry are already implementing a range of actions related to: supplying sustainably sourced food; using renewable energy; using sustainability dashboards to measure carbon emissions and energy use; and improving technology, including developing a business-to-business carbon calculator that provides carbon footprints for travel packages. Other industry initiatives include: reducing water usage and waste; using electric vehicles and alternative fuel, with many large car rental companies now offering electric and hybrid vehicles; offsetting from large corporations, such as Marriott, which committed US$2 million to preserve the Juma reserve in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest; using cycling options for transport, with many hotels offering free bike hire for guests and staff; building infrastructure with sustainable materials and low-impact designs; and protecting the local environment and enhancing biodiversity, including, for example, through a “no-take zone” in Indonesia where fishing, shark finning and harvesting of turtle eggs and shellfish are prohibited.

The Forest Green Rovers is the world’s only vegan football team.

In addition, during its Global Summit in April 2018, WTTC announced a partnership with the UNFCCC, agreeing on a common agenda for climate action in travel and tourism. The Council will compile best sustainability practices in the sector and encourage companies to set science-based targets. In addition, WTTC recently launched the Tourism For Tomorrow awards to encourage companies to, inter alia, invest in green technologies and develop strategies to address climate change. [UNFCCC Press Release on World Travel and Tourism Industry]

In the sports arena, the Forest Green Rovers became the world’s first football club to join the CNN initiative, pledging to measure, reduce and offset emissions during their upcoming season. The club and its players have made changes regarding diet, energy consumption, water usage and transportation. For example, players switched to a plant-based diet to mitigate the environmental impacts of meat consumption, making the club the world’s only vegan football team.

In addition, the club is powered by 100% renewable energy. It uses a solar powered robot to cut the team’s pitch, recycles rainwater from the pitch and stands, and has electric vehicle charging facilities at its stadium. The team’s organic pitch is pesticide and chemical free and irrigated with natural water sources. The club also intends to build an all-wooden stadium and Ecopark. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) described the Rovers as the “greenest football club in the world.”

According to a UNFCCC press release, sports teams and management organizations are creating jobs and becoming more competitive by greening their operations. Because they often have devoted fan bases, sports teams are also in a position to increase awareness and promote climate action by citizens. [UNFCCC Press Release on FGR] [UNFCCC Interview with FGR Owner] [FIFA Video on FGR Sustainability Efforts]

The CNN initiative encourages companies, organizations, governments and citizens to reduce their climate footprint by measuring their emissions, reducing them as much as possible and compensating for unavoidable emissions by using certified emission reductions (CERs), which are generated by UNFCCC-vetted, climate-friendly clean development mechanism (CDM) projects. The initiative also supports the SDGs through fostering financial investments in climate-friendly projects. [Climate Neutral Now Website]

related posts