Manchester United are one of the world’s biggest and richest football clubs. Their home ground, Old Trafford, is the second biggest football stadium in the country, and holds almost 76,000 people. They have a training ground, The Trafford Training Centre, which has 14 football pitches, a TV studio, physio clinics, a restaurant, conference rooms, and offices.
Being such a giant of the game, the club know they are in an influential position to do good things, and becoming environmentally aware and more sustainable is one of them.
The environmental journey
When the club built their Trafford Training Centre in 2000, this was the start of their journey towards achieving greater sustainability.
Manchester United are one of the only football clubs that have achieved many environmental standards, including;
Carbon Reduction Commitment 2011
They came joint first place with 22 other organisations for their energy management and carbon reduction achievements.
They have achieved a quality standard for establishing an environmental management system.
They hold the Carbon Trust Standard for Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction.
This was achieved by managing events sustainably when the Olympic football tournament was held at their ground.
Green Tourism Business Scheme
The Gold Standard for environmental best practice has been awarded to the Manchester United Museum & Tour Centre and the Red Café.
Manchester United have 2 main initiatives:
Reds Go Green
This focuses on waste management and recycling. The club’s museum education team go into local schools and teach children about sustainability and reducing waste.
United to Switch Off and Save
This is an energy efficiency programme that encourages staff to promote energy efficient practices in the workplace.
Good environmental practices
Rainwater that falls on their ground is collected and used to irrigate the pitch.
No waste is sent to landfill; it all goes to a local waste to energy plant. Waste food gets sent for composting.
The training ground, Carrington, has been turned into a nature reserve by the club. There is grassland, ponds and habitats for wildlife.
The club recycles many materials that it uses in everyday operations, such as glass, plastic, cans, office stationery and wood. Old computer equipment is given to charity or recycled.
They were involved in the Nike ‘Reuse-A-Shoe initiative, where worn out shoes and trainers were recycled and turned into all-weather sports surfaces such as football pitches and running tracks.
They were the first organisation in their area to be awarded a Gold Standard by Keep Britain Tidy.
Plans for the future
The club plan to keep working to improve sustainability, and they emphasise that having good leadership and commitment to their scheme, right from the chairman and chief executive down to the ground staff is central to their success.