July 13 2012

Gary Neville: “Sport must grasp the green agenda”

Gary Neville

Gary Neville

Governing bodies, clubs and fans must take more responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of sport.

That is the view of England football coach Gary Neville and green entrepreneur Dale Vince, in launching the Sustainability in Sport Foundation, which is aiming to put environmental issues at the heart of sport.

The former Manchester United star said: “The environmental impact of sport is massive but often overlooked – with the Olympics putting sport at the forefront of people’s minds, we believe the time is right to launch a green revolution in sport.

“Sporting stars are role-models for people throughout the world and delivering messages on sustainability through sport can reach a diverse global audience.”

  • 62% of people in the UK watch a sport regularly – almost 40 million people
  • 50% of people in the UK participate in sport regularly – over 30 million people
  • over 14 million people play sport in a club environment in the UK
  • there are an estimated 140,000 sports clubs in the UK

(Sources: Sport England & Sport UK)

Neville continued: “Sport is an important part of our everyday lives and we believe, sport as an industry, must grasp the green agenda.”

Dale Vince, founder of green energy company Ecotricity and chairman of Forest Green Rovers FC, said: “The Olympics organisers have made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact and we applaud them for it, but there is no getting away from the fact that the London Olympics still had a massive carbon footprint – the equivalent of adding an extra city the size of Cardiff to the UK.

“The Olympics are a big event but they only happen once every four years. We need sport to be sustainable day-in day-out from the grassroots level upwards – we aim to help governing bodies, clubs and fans reduce the environmental impact of sport.

“Sustainability in Sport is about changing the rules of the game and putting environmental issues at the heart of all sport. As Gary says: nothing short of a revolution.”

Sustainability in Sport will:

  • seek to establish eco-standards for all activities relating to the operation of sports clubs.
  • use the power of sport to spread information about environmental issues and the need for sustainability to the widest possible audience.
  • share knowledge, information and learning - to promote sustainability in sport.
  • showcase examples and promote best eco practice.
  • engage with governing bodies and clubs at all levels.
  • work with technology providers to develop and demonstrate technology that will improve the sustainability of sport.

The launch of the Sustainability in Sport Foundation is to be announced at a fundraising match between Forest Green Rovers and a Manchester United XI at The New Lawn stadium in Gloucestershire on Sunday 5th August – with all proceeds going to the Sustainability in Sport Foundation.

Notes to Editors:

The environmental impact of sport is significant:

  • 2012 London Olympics carbon footprint = 3.45million tonnes CO₂ = the UK having an extra city the size of Cardiff this year
  • 2010 World Cup in South Africa carbon footprint = 2.75 million tonnes CO₂
  • 2008 Beijing Olympics carbon footprint = 1.18 million tonnes CO₂ 

For more information, please contact: or (01453) 761318