Football clubs and the path to net zero

With COP26 on the horizon, as well as the release of an alarming new report from the IPCC, the UK’s net zero target has become more urgent. This will mean more organisations will be expected to join in and stay ahead of changing policy. This is not lost on Premier League football clubs, many of whom have already committed to net zero targets. Some have even succeeded in achieving radical emission reductions.

There are numerous advantages to becoming a net zero football club. It provides a significant reputational boost and has the potential to cut long-term costs. It is clear that carbon reduction is quickly becoming a mandatory part of any business strategy.

We look at what it means to become a net zero football club and why it matters.

UN Sports for Climate Action Framework

The UN Sports for Climate Action Framework aims to support and guide sports organisations towards a more sustainable future. Similar to science-based targets, this is a voluntary framework setting out identifiable objectives for those looking to display climate leadership.

The framework sets out five principles for signatories:

  1. Promote environmental responsibility.
  2. Reduce overall climate impact.
  3. Educate for climate action.
  4. Promote sustainable consumption.
  5. Advocate for climate action.

The Premier League sustainability table

These principles have been reflected in a table published by BBC Sport and the Sport Positive Summit ranking Premier League clubs. In 2020, football teams at the top of this sustainability table included Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United, amongst others.

Points were awarded for:

  • Clean energy (2 points)
  • Energy efficiency (2 points)
  • Sustainable transport (2 points)
  • Single-use plastic reduction or removal (2 points)
  • Waste management (2 points)
  • Water efficiency (2 points)
  • Plant-based or low-carbon food options (3 points)
  • Communications & engagement (3 points)

One bonus point was available for each of the following:

  • The club actively engages fans towards positive behavioural change that reduces environmental impact in their own lives.
  • The club is a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
  • The club tracks and reports on the percentage of fans taking different modes of transport to games.

This criteria demonstrates the level of action football clubs are expected to take beyond simply offsetting their carbon emissions. By including energy, waste and water management as well as social engagement and scope 3 emissions reporting, these principles promote real change.

Where to start

Once you have pledged your commitment to net zero, it is important to spread the word. This can be a valuable boost to your reputation, but it also helps to get staff, suppliers and fans involved in making your business more sustainable.

The next step is to calculate your carbon footprint and map a path to net zero. This is where EIC comes in.

Our carbon team has worked closely with Premier League football clubs, helping them to calculate their emissions, mapping a route to net zero, and supporting them on their journey.

Our extensive list of sustainable services includes:

  • Sub-metering and monitoring
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Carbon compliance and management
  • Energy data insights and support
  • Support for efficiency measures
  • Onsite generation guidance
  • Green procurement
  • Energy and carbon reporting
  • Waste management
  • Sustainable water solutions
  • Support with installing EV infrastructure

Why become a net zero football club?

For decades, the climate emergency has been met with apathy and reluctance. Now, there is real momentum to take action before it is too late. Unfortunately, some organisations are continuing to do the bare minimum in an effort to appear greener without making significant changes. But this ‘greenwashing’ will not support their transition to a net zero economy. The businesses that will thrive are those that embrace efficiency, reducing consumption and waste from every corner of their organisation.

By doing this, not only will football clubs become part of a net zero future – they can become leaders too.

REGO prices rise amidst post-Brexit uncertainty

The Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme was designed to provide consumers with transparency about the portion of electricity their suppliers source from renewable generation.

How do REGOs work?

Renewable energy generators are issued with one REGO certificate for every megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable output. This certificate is then sold with an energy contract to prove to the final customer that a share of their energy was produced from renewable sources.

Why are REGO prices rising?

In recent weeks the cost of REGO certificates has increased dramatically, leading to rising renewable electricity contract renewal prices. There are a number of factors driving the increases, including:

  • Lower levels of renewable generation than expected in the UK in the 2020–21 period, reducing the number of REGOs available on the market
  • Higher levels of demand for renewable electricity
  • End-of-year purchasing by suppliers to meet their obligations
  • Uncertainty surrounding the acceptance of European Guarantees of Origin certificates (GoOs) in future
  • Increase in wholesale electricity prices that continue to recover to pre-pandemic levels

These factors mean that customers securing renewable electricity contract renewals are likely to see their prices increase.

Are REGOs used for greenwashing?

REGOs have faced criticism for allowing greenwashing. This is because some suppliers buy power on the wholesale market, which is a mix of all sources including fossil fuels and nuclear. They then separately acquire REGOs to label this power ‘green’. Scottish Power and Good Energy have recently called for regulatory reforms to close these “loopholes” in the market.

Despite these calls for reform, a recent Cornwall Insight’s survey found that 74% of participants felt there had been no improvement in REGOs regulations.

How can EIC help?

The sharpest insights are crucial in today’s volatile markets. We work to ensure that our clients are aware of key market movements and are ready to capitalise on every opportunity.

The EIC Market Intelligence team has extensive knowledge of the electricity and carbon markets and the fundamentals driving them. Interpreting this information is a key component of a successful energy management strategy.

EIC can help your business stay ahead of the curve with market insights and smart procurement so you can make energy management decisions with confidence. To learn more, contact us at EIC today.