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  • AntoineR

Changing the Face of Football: Turning the World's Most Popular Sport Into a Sustainability Powerhouse

Updated: Mar 28

A football player with a ball on the pitch

Football is the world's most popular sport, captivating billions of fans. But it also carries a massive environmental footprint. From energy-intensive stadiums to significant travel emissions to massive amounts of waste, football has not traditionally prioritized sustainability.

However, change is happening in this industry. A growing number of organizations and initiatives are showing how football can entertain and unite fans while acting as a driving force for environmental good.

Innovative groups and organizations are engaging all facets of football - players, clubs, leagues, and fans - to embrace sustainability as a core value.

Here are a few examples:

  • Common Goal ( inspires players, managers, and industry leaders to pledge 1% of all revenues to drive progress towards the Global Goals. The movement counts more than 190 pro players and managers so far and involves more than 1.3 million young people to date.

  • We Play Green ( activates professional footballers as sustainability champions. They recruit professional football players to become We Play Green Team Players, providing them with education, training, and support to become climate and environmental advocates within their communities.

  • World Football Summit ( convenes football industry leaders to share knowledge and collaborate on embedding purpose across football. They promote diversity, equality, and sustainability.

  • Clubs like Forest Green Rovers ( are showing how teams can reduce emissions through renewable energy, waste reduction, plant-based food, and more.

  • Fans are getting involved too, through events like Green Football Weekend ( and platforms like Pledgeball ( that unite supporter groups to take collective actions to tackle climate change

Football's immense popularity gives it unrivaled potential to shift cultural attitudes and behaviors around sustainability. Already, the green gaming efforts have reached millions of fans who may not otherwise engage in climate issues.

And a little healthy competition between supporter groups or clubs provides a fun framework for making substantive emissions reductions.

By continuing to ramp up sustainability, football can score big wins for the planet while keeping the beautiful game alive and thriving well into a greener future.


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