Policy and Commitment
- The club’s own sustainability strategy is communicated as a sub-strategy of the corporate strategy. https://www.vfl-wolfsburg.de/en/vfl/corporate-responsibility/environment/climate-protection
- Sustainability is part of the brand values.
- In the 2021/22 season, VfL Wolfsburg revised its environmental guidelines and formulated its own environmental policy. The five principles are published in the 2022 Sustainability Report. https://static-typo3.vfl-wolfsburg.de/user_upload/Medien/Dokumente/221209-nachhaltigkeitsbericht-2022-en-vfl-wolfsburg.pdf
- Introduced an Environmental Compliance Management System (ECMS) and a large number of other guidelines with environmental relevance (including Code of conduct, guideline on sustainable procurement).
- A CSR program with specific targets is published in the Sustainability Report.
- VfL Wolfsburg is a signatory to United Nations “Sports for Climate Action” and “Race to Zero”.
- Net-Zero target by 2025 and reduction path oriented to the Science Based Targets. Reporting via CO2 footprint and sustainability report.
- In 2020, VfL Wolfsburg attained the Gold level award in the sustainClub sustainability label.
- All sites use 100% green energy.
- 100% renewable energy supplier since 2011 – saving 3600 t CO2e/year as well as solar PV power generation on site, CHP plant available + district heating.
- In summer 2023, new PV systems are planned for the new “weight room” building (completion 2023), the VfL Center and the AOK stadium.
- VfL Wolfsburg takes a holistic approach to energy efficiency. An Environmental Compliance Management System (ECMS) helps to define targets.
- LED floodlights at the stadium consume 12% less electricity.
- Central building energy control installed in 2002 (heating, ventilation, cooling, lighting).
- Monitoring via energy software since 2019, which uses digital meters to record/break down consumption levels.
- Expansion of monitoring by installing more metering in areas for electricity and heat.
- The Volkswagen Arena is supplied with district heating. The return flow is used for heating the pitch.
- Newly constructed Academy building requires 55% less energy to heat than a conventional building. Solar PV provides hot water and electricity.
- Extensive efforts have been made to replace conventional light bulbs indoors with LED fixtures. To date, 65% of lights are LED.
- VfL launched a pilot project for additional LED upgrades during the reporting period. To make the lights for the pitch turf more energy efficient, VfL is using a new type of LED turf lighting system.
- Regarding the energy crisis, the DFL has recommended an energy saving of 15-20%. Since the start of the season, VfL has saved 25.2% in electricity and 11.6% in heat compared to 2018.
- As part of the ECMS, a saving of 15-25% is also targeted in the coming years.
- On home matchdays, supporters can use their VfL Wolfsburg season ticket to travel on VRB (Verbundtarif Region Braunschweig) buses and trains from four hours before kick-off until close of business. Single match ticket holders can travel free of charge on WVG (Wolfsburger Verkehrsgesellschaft) buses from three hours before kick-off until three hours after full-time.
- Volunteers and employees who work on a matchday get free rides by public transport in Wolfsburg. This can be used four hours before the match begins and four hours after.
- VfL offers season tickets and tickets for the home games of the women’s and U23 teams at the AOK Stadium, which can be used as combined tickets for the public transport system.
- In the 2021/22 season, the club introduced 5 all-electric and 5 hybrid office vehicles.
- Following the installation of 2 EV charging points in the underground car park of VfL Wolfsburg, a further 30 charging are planned. Additionally, a further 24 charging points have been installed at the VfL Center, a further 2 charging points at the Academy and 1 charging point at the training ground of the women’s team.
- VfL provides its employees with subsidised job tickets issued by Deutsche Bahn.
- Offer of job bike leasing for employees
- Charging station in the underground car park for e-bikes with lockers.
- In 2013, a climate protection bike day was held, where fans were asked to come to the stadium by bike.
- As part of the club’s climate protection strategy, further awareness-raising measures are planned for the new season.
- For fans travelling to the ground by bike, there are a number of bicycle stands located near the Volkswagen Arena at Trainingsgelände West and the Fanhaus.
- Introduced a repair station for bicycles in September 2022
- In September/October 2022, “climate matchdays” took place again at the women’s and men’s game. The men’s team travelled with an e-city bus and fans were asked to come by bike or public transport.
- Fan travel survey: to better understand the mobility behaviour of spectators, VfL conducted a mobility analysis in 2016, and further mobility and residence analyses were conducted in 2021 and January 2023. According to the survey, 27 percent of respondents live in Wolfsburg county, while around 42 percent live within a 25-kilometre radius of the Volkswagen Arena. Around 40 percent do not travel to matches by car. The club has used the study results to develop a mobility plan and define some targeted measures.
- In consultation with the team management, the issue of sustainability is taken into account when deciding on player travel.
- In the future, players will be equipped with electric cars and will travel with them to training (if not by bike). The infrastructure for charging electric cars has already been set up.
Single Use Plastic Reduction/Removal
- Reusable cups for cold/hot beverages are used at the Volkswagen Arena and AOK Stadium and are collected and reused in a separate waste stream.
- The VfL online store has replaced plastic filler with 100% recycled paper for its mail- order items since February 2020
- Microplastic waste reduction policy: Installation of microplastic filters on the pitches and in the professional team’s washing machines and dryers
- No plastic bags in the fan store. Uses compostable paper bags instead.
- Introduced digital tickets as a replacement for plastic cards.
- Introduced an app for business and VIP customers who no longer have to print out coated VIP tickets.
- No waste to landfill.
- Within VfL’s ECMS, the goal is to conserve resources and manage resources responsibly.
- Management uses 95% recycled paper.
- Catering services offered must now meet specifications covering aspects such as waste management.
- Material flow analyses were conducted for 2022 and 2023.
- The integration of a waste management system into VfL’s ECMS aims to increase the recycling rate and reduce residual waste.
- Collection of used paper towels in sanitary areas for recycling.
- VfL’s ECMS identifies potential for water reduction in the stadium and other locations in the club. VfL Wolfsburg installs/implements new sustainable and resource-saving technologies in new buildings from the very beginning, for example at the academy.
- Water-saving and automatic taps have been installed in the stadium, saving around 800 cubic meters of drinking water annually.
- Toilets at the academy use rainwater.
- Waterless urinals in the public catering area.
- VfL Wolfsburg irrigates its football pitches with water from the nearby canal.
- In Summer 2023, the installation of a rain cistern for the new weights room building (weight room) in summer 2023 to irrigate the training pitches.
- Efficient app-controlled irrigation system for the arena turf and training fields.
Plant based/low carbon food
- Vegan/vegetarian options are available at all club locations.
- Vegan dishes at the Volkswagen Arena: vegan bratwurst, salad box, potato salad, vegetable fry, and classic fries and pretzels.
- The company restaurant offers veggie and vegan dishes during the week. Among other things, has carried out Veganuary for each January since 2022.
- Many of the club’s players are paying increasing attention to a vegan diet, which is why the availability of vegan food for all teams has increased.
- Food is sourced from the region as often as possible.
- In the academy, 60% of food is organic or regional.
- In the professional area: 85% of the food comes from regional sources and about 80% is organic.
- In the 2021/2022 season, biodiversity researcher Dr Frauke Fischer and her consulting company Agentur auf! conducted a scientific study for VfL Wolfsburg on the topic of football and biodiversity. The study, entitled ‘Fair play – naturally!’ was presented to the club in January 2022 and investigates the impact of business operations at VfL on biodiversity. The analyses made in the study help to positively influence the mutual impacts for both sides – the club and biodiversity.
- After discussing the measures proposed in the Agentur auf! study at length with the City of Wolfsburg and NABU, VfL drew up an action plan.
- Measures already implemented include the filtering of microplastics as well as providing protection and care for a breeding colony of starlings by installing nesting boxes at the AOK Stadium (home stadium of VfL ladies) and elsewhere.
- A pollinator patch was also sown at the pro players training pitch, and VfL has also planted raised beds with herbs and vegetables.
- The club has supported the replanting of rare orchids in construction projects, the renaturation of the Aller (river right next to the stadiums) and other projects such as the return of free-ranging wolves.
- The club is also planning to install a biodiversity roof on a new building, which will feature insect-friendly vegetation as well as a photovoltaic system.
- Other measures still under discussion include; replanting native species of trees at car parks P1 and P2 in front of the Volkswagen Arena, and installing another green roof on the VfL Centre, again sown with insect friendly vegetation.
- VfL Wolfsburg was the first club to introduce filter solutions against microplastics (artificial turf fields, washing machines, etc.)
- Biodiversity is defined as a focus field within the framework of the company’s own environmental policy.
- In April 2023, players and youth players planted trees in the VfL forest (since 2014) together with fans and forest experts.
- Through compensation projects around the world, VfL promotes the use of renewable energy and carries out reforestation projects in deforested regions.
- Mandatory environmental training for all employees.
- Players do not currently have to go through the environmental training, however, they are actively involved in environmental education projects. For example, in clean-up projects, which, with the involvement of waste experts, also have an educational character in addition to the actual litter collection. In September 2022, the club implemented the last major activity involving various players. Another project is scheduled for April 2023.
- Qualification of certified energy, environmental and climate managers in the CSR and facility management teams.
- Kick-off event with all employees, managing director and scientists to launch the “Race to zero”.
- Since 2021, annual Project1Hour (all employees work one hour on climate protection and develop measures for the club and their personal environment)
- Project sprints and workshops are held with employees on sustainable future topics.
- Implementation and support of workshops in schools via the extracurricular learning team.
- Development of a further training course “Sustainability Manager Sport”, which interested parties can take at the VfL Campus. Completion: Certificate with university level.
Communication and Engagement
- Corporate responsibility page on the club’s main website with information on climate protection and environmental initiatives: https://www.vfl-wolfsburg.de/en/vfl/corporate-responsibility/environment/climate-protection
- Sustainability report on the club website: https://static-typo3.vfl-wolfsburg.de/user_upload/Medien/Dokumente/221209-nachhaltigkeitsbericht-2022-vfl-wolfsburg.pdf
- Carries out action days with fans, employees and players. For example, clean-up day.
- Advocates for climate-neutral football by running a campaign as part of the club’s “Race to Zero” via TV boards in the stadium and social media, but also internally for the employees.
- Introduced climate-neutral tickets. Via a climate contribution, fans can offset their greenhouse gases via regional and international climate protection projects. The initiative helps to raise awareness amongst fans and their own travel behaviours.
- In the past, the club has shared climate tips with fans through its channels, in addition to action game days and climate competitions.
- Employees participate in Veganuary and bike weeks.
- Interview with player Yannick Gerhardt “You’re do something good with it” discusses the VfL midfielder’s everyday life as a vegan. https://www.vfl-wolfsburg.de/newsdetails/news-detail/detail/news/man-tut-damit-etwas-gutes
- In April 2023, players and youth players planted trees in the VfL forest (since 2014) together with fans and forest experts.
- In September/October 2022, “climate matchdays” took place again at the women’s and men’s game. On the women’s team’s promotional game day, there was also a warming stripes captain’s armband and corner flags with climate warming stripes.
Information sourced directly from VfL Wolfsburg staff, website and third party websites
Information updated May 15 2023