Leagues – What We Do
The goal of Sport Positive for our Leagues is to share information on climate action and sustainability efforts within the structures that currently exist in football clubs, encouraging increasing action and ambition from the sector.
In 2018 when Sport Positive Founder, Claire Poole, was being interviewed and asked about which football clubs were leading on sustainability, she kept coming back to the same few examples. That kickstarted a project to research and map out operational environmental sustainability efforts of top-flight football clubs. Starting with that information in the public domain, verifying that information with clubs and then publishing it in one place for the first time.
It was originally meant to be a tool for us to use internally, and to share within the industry to benchmark and increase ambition. We wanted to create something that quickly showed which clubs had sustainability policies in place, what type of energy they used, how efficient they were being with that energy, how they encouraged sustainable travel, if plant based foods were available at their sites, if they were conserving water and how etc. The idea being that clubs could learn from each other and more easily reduce their environmental impact at a larger scale more quickly. It still is that, however it was picked up by the media, taking it from an industry benchmarking tool, to something much larger.
Following the latest IPCC report release, Chair of IPCC, Hoesung Lee said: “Transformational changes are more likely to succeed where there is trust, where everyone works together to prioritise risk reduction. We live in a diverse world in which everyone has different responsibilities and different opportunities to bring about change.”
There are many fundamentally unsustainable facets to professional football, but it also has the platform to influence and inform fans, suppliers, brands, sponsors, local and even national Governments. This platform provides an opportunity to drive positive change and action on climate. So whilst we know how far there still is to go before football can be seen as doing anywhere near enough, we endeavour to share what football clubs are and aren’t doing, within the structures that currently exist – to also influence and inform the dialogue in our industry.
Why a league table matrix? When we realised there was an interest to share this information beyond our industry peer group, we hosted focus groups and realised that there was little appetite to read what would be about a 50 page report on what one set of 20 clubs in one league were doing. There was however interest to see quickly and visually how their own club was doing compared to peers, and have the option to then click through to the more extensive data. All sports have some kind of table, so it was the most obvious way to communicate this information.
Increasing action and ambition on climate change is at the heart of everything we do, but we also know that competition is the lifeblood of sport, and over the past 4 years we have seen how this peeer-to-peer benchmarking can help support more action in this area, which benefits the clubs themselves as well as the environment.
The leagues we have launched include: Premier League (3 annual editions – 2019-2021), Bundesliga (1 edition – 2021), Ligue 1 (1 edition – 2022), EFL (1 edition – 2022). We are working on other top flight leagues too across Europe and beyond in football, and in other sports too.
We really want to begin to release leagues around women’s football as well; what has slowed us down there is the fact that for women’s football there isn’t the same level of infrastructure, which means the information is much more difficult to get hold of. If you are in women’s football and can help – please get in touch, it’s our goal for 2023.
If you want to keep updated on what is coming up next, or want to work with us on creating a league within your sport, please do get in touch by completing the Keep Updated form at the bottom of the page, or by emailing [email protected]
Our mission is to increase ambition on climate action through the sports we love. We hope you find the information in these pages valuable,