Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Updates on matchday recycling, multi-stakeholder working group meetings, the EFL Green Clubs initiative, and the results of our first Pledgeball event.
HTSA’s Sustainable Stadium Campaign was launched in 2018 with the backing of the Huddersfield Giants Supporters’ Association (HGSA), eight community groups, and 24 local councillors. The campaign aims to make the Kirklees Stadium more sustainable, while also raising awareness about pollution and climate issues.
It has six core objectives, which we believe are practical, effective, and achievable:
Over the past 3 years, we’ve made steady progress towards these objectives, including:
Demonstrating widespread backing for the campaign among Town fans.
The creation of a working group which encompasses all stadium stakeholders.
Working with the club shop to introduce a plastic bag charge.
Attending regular meetings with Sustainable Huddersfield, MP Barry Sheerman, and Kirklees Council.
Participation in Football Supporters Europe’s (FSE) climate change network.
A volunteer litter pick at the stadium.
Establishing a partnership with Pledgeball.
Below, you’ll find an update on what we’ve been up to more recently.
Working with KSDL to improve matchday recycling
HTSA has been working with KSDL since the beginning of the year to make sure that more matchday waste gets recycled. Both sides agreed early on that the best way to do this was to put enough recycling bins on all concourses and clearly communicate their presence and location to fans.
We’re pleased to report that significant progress has been made on this front. There are now around 30 plastic recycling bins spread equally throughout the stadium.
Some look like look like this:
Others looks like this:
We’ll be providing further details and publishing reminders on social media in the coming weeks and months.
Restarting multi-stakeholder working group meetings
More good news: The Kirklees Stadium sustainability working group met in early October after a pandemic-enforced hiatus. HTSA, HGSA, the football club, rugby club, council, Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), KSDL, caterers, and Core Facilities Management were all represented.
KSDL reported a number of significant improvements. The caterers, for instance, have eliminated the use of plastic knives, forks, and straws. They’ve also made a concerted effort to prioritise local suppliers, which not only minimises the distance foodstuffs have to travel, but benefits the regional economy, too. This commitment to sustainability and localism extends across the site. KSDL has even been working with waterways charity Greenstreams to protect and promote biodiversity in the River Colne.
From HTSA’s perspectives, the next big step is to decide on a wider strategic vision, with clear targets and timelines that complement the council’s Climate Emergency Policy and Huddersfield Blueprint.
EFL Green Clubs initiative
Not long after the working group meeting, the EFL unveiled its ‘Green Clubs’ initiative, a new league wide scheme that seeks to encourage clubs across the country to improve their environmental practices and operations.
The accompanying press release explained:
“In a first for football, the scheme sees the EFL joining forces with GreenCode—the new environmental accreditation scheme born from the work of environmentalist Dale Vince and the team at Forest Green Rovers, who pioneered work at the League Two club—helping it become recognised by the United Nations and FIFA as the world’s greenest football club.
With the aim to share that expertise across its 72 members, EFL Green Clubs will include an accreditation scheme that will benchmark clubs environmental rating, provide bespoke guidance and practical advice to help clubs implement change and recognise those that excel in this area.
EFL Green Clubs will see the EFL provide funding to enable any club to access the scheme, while the EFL as an organisation will also be undertaking a GreenCode assessment to help improve its own environmental practice.
Participating Clubs will receive an independent assessment of their environmental credentials with a GC Mark the goal to achieve. Those clubs at the start of their environmental improvement journey will be supported by the GreenCode Improvement Plan.
In addition, the EFL Trust, the charitable arm of the EFL, will be putting in place a Sustainable Development Coordinator and will be encouraging all Club Community Organisation’s to employ a Sustainable Development Officer through the extended Kickstart programme. These roles will also have access to an accredited Environmental Sustainability qualification.”
The EFL’s recognition that climate change and sustainability are both pressing concerns for football clubs is an important development. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is their pledge to proactively help clubs to adapt—and hopefully reap the long-term financial benefits of doing so.
Given Town’s involvement in the sustainable stadium working group—as well as their vow to “[investigate] all options to improve the club’s sustainability”—HTSA believes that it makes perfect sense to participate in the Green Clubs scheme. As such, we’ve asked whether they intend to sign up.
First Pledgeball fixture vs. Hull City
Ahead of Town’s game against Hull City on 16th October, we teamed up with Pledgeball, an organisation that encourages football fans “to make small, easy changes to their lifestyle to collectively have a big impact on the planet.”
Fans of the two clubs were encouraged to engage in a “pledge-off”, with both sides aiming to save the most carbon emissions. We suggested six pledges as examples to give fans an idea of what to do (i.e., ‘Buy seasonal, locally produced food). Each pledge had a ‘local business’ theme, with recommendations for shops and restaurants to help fans achieve their goals.
In the end, the Town faithful mustered an enviable response, saving an estimated 81,611 kg of CO2e over a year, which is the equivalent of taking 17 cars off the road. We also comfortably beat Hull, placing seventh out of 25 in the Pledgeball league table. Not bad for a first effort!
Special thanks go to the club for providing a signed shirt and ball for the prize draw. We intend to host another Pledgeball event in December. We’ll provide more information closer to the date.