Tens of thousands of fans, floodlit stadiums and multi-million pound franchises – professional football at the highest level doesn’t immediately spring to mind as the most environmentally-friendly business.
However, Manchester United has just become the 250th company in the UK to net the Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing its carbon emissions, as part of the club’s commitment to cut its footprint by ten per cent.
United’s achievement of the Carbon Trust Standard, the only independent award for organisations that can verify that they are taking genuine action to reduce their carbon emissions, marks two years’ worth of environmental initiatives including:
- Running a number of initiatives to engage staff, including the development of a network of 23 ‘energy champions’ and a high-profile awareness campaign with messages and posters featuring Sir Alex Ferguson stating "You can make a difference"
- Extending the challenge to the club’s fans, customers and suppliers, with the ‘Reds to Green’ programme, which includes waste, recycling and transport reduction initiatives. The programme has ensured that any waste produced by United does not end up in landfill, but is sent for energy recovery via a local waste to energy plant. The club is also working with the local council and police with the joint aim of reducing congestion on match days
- Reducing energy consumption across OT through direct light ‘switch-offs’ on non-match days and optimising the control system for heating and ventilation of the stadium. Reducing lighting by 50 per cent in the North Stand tunnel alone is already saving the club £10,000 each year. For financial year 2008/09, United’s carbon management efforts helped the club save over £125,000 in electricity, £110,000 in gas and £235,000 in total energy use in seven months
- Implementing a number of other eco-friendly initiatives such as the use of electric vehicles throughout the site
In addition, since making a firm commitment in July 2008 to reduce energy use by 10 per cent, the club has exceeded this goal by 6.9 per cent.