Advertisement
Environment

Top footballers urged to become climate champions and help make the sport more sustainable

A “climate champion” handbook explains the relationship between football and climate change and encourage athletes to speak out on the issue.

Top football stars are being called on to lead the way in making the sport more sustainable as part of a new Nike-backed campaign.

Environmental non-profit Football For Future (FFF) has teamed up with the leading sports brand to create “climate champion” handbooks as part of a trailblazing project to educate athletes on speaking out about climate change.

Chelsea’s £70million Champions League hero Kai Havertz and Tottenham’s Eric Dier are among the Premier League stars to be given the handbooks, alongside England’s Women’s Euros winner Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Wubben-Moy called the handbook a “step in the right direction” for football, adding that sponsors “have a responsibility to educate their athletes on the interrelationship between football and climate change”. 

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

The project is the first time a sports brand has educated players on the relationship between sports and climate change. The handbook forms part of a larger toolkit given to athletes.

FFF, which is made up of sustainability experts, climate scientists and football-creatives, has been on a mission to build a more environmentally sustainable culture in football, as well as raising awareness of how climate change is impacting the game.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Premier League team Wolves were the first to partner with FFF back in May, as part of the club’s ambition to lead the way when it comes to environmental sustainability.

It’s estimated that a quarter of professional clubs in England could be flooded on a regular basis by 2050, while the average grassroots pitch in England is already losing five weeks a season to bad weather. 

During the record-breaking 40C heatwave, which happened during the Women’s Euros, the England team was forced to move training times forward, demonstrating how climate change is already affecting the sport.

Barney Weston, co-director at FFF, said thinking about a typical match day can demonstrate some of the current issues with football’s carbon footprint.

“So firstly, how do you get there? The only public transport option may be really inconvenient,” he told the Big Issue. “Then you get there and there might not be any veggie or vegan options on the menu.

“Then say you want to get a beer. Does it come in a recyclable cup? Are there recycling facilities there? That’s before you think about the players on the pitch and what their kit is made out of,” he explained.

The Big Issue Shop

Eco-friendly gift hampers that make a positive impact

The Big Issue has collaborated with Social Stories Club to create limited edition gift hampers. Packed full of treats made by social ventures, this hamper would make the perfect gift for the festive season.

Weston said awareness about the climate crisis in football has generally been low – something FFF hopes to change with its handbook, which includes information on:

● The fundamentals of climate change.

● The interrelationship between climate, sustainability and football.

● What Football For Future is doing to tackle climate change.

● How Nike is mitigating environmental impact.

● How Nike athletes can make a difference.

Other footballers to receive the handbook include Jessie Fleming and Magdalena Eriksson.

Football For Future founder Elliot Arthur-Worsop, said: “There is such exciting potential if we can support players and brands to use their platforms to educate their followers about important issues and redefine the climate conversation for new audiences. There is a long way to go – but this is a good first step.”

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Government has 'no agreed definition' for green jobs and inflated figures under Kwasi Kwarteng, documents show
Green jobs

Government has 'no agreed definition' for green jobs and inflated figures under Kwasi Kwarteng, documents show

Could fracking take place in your area? This tool lets you check
Fracking

Could fracking take place in your area? This tool lets you check

Can green King Charles change government policy on climate change?
King Charles

Can green King Charles change government policy on climate change?

Why fracking won't make your energy bills cheaper anytime soon
Fracking

Why fracking won't make your energy bills cheaper anytime soon

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.