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"The world's eyes are on us" | What's behind Spurs' status as Premier League's greenest club?

Thu 21 Oct 2021 | 04:13 pm GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

Tottenham Hotspur, the Premier League\\\'s Greenest Club

Its players grow their own vegetables, drink only from carton water instead of bottled, and if you look closely enough at the crowd on a match day, you’ll spot that more and more of its fans are opting for the vegan options on the snack menus. Throw in the addition of bee hotels, bug motels, and water recycling systems in play across the team’s training ground as well as a stadium-wide crackdown on single use plastic at Tottenham Hotspur, you’re beginning to uncover why the club was named the English Premier League’s greenest by the UN-backed Sport Positive Summit in January this year. Reopened in 2019 after the club’s stint away from its home ground, the refurbished, regenerated Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been built from the ground up with sustainability firmly at the forefont of its mind. In fact, the list of sustainable measures that the club has implemented or is in the process of implementing is seemingly endless; yet it is with boundless energy that it continues to deliver them. In its clean and renewable energy use alone, Tottenham Hotspurs’ head of PR and sustainability project lead, Tony Stevens will be quick to tell you that the club has achieved 100 per cent certified renewable energy and zero scope 2 emissions. He’ll also shout loudly that carbon dioxide emissions from the stadium are around 50 per cent less than a stadium built ten years ago. It’s not just VAR that’s changed the game; the growing demand for better sustainability across our sports is playing a pretty large role here, too. But actually, the technical advances that the new Spurs ground boasts (power consumption regulation, insulation to reduce heating and cooling) aren’t the most exciting elements contributing to the Club’s stature as the Premier League’s greenest. The most exciting part is the message that the team is promoting to fans of football the world over, that this is a sport that really can go green. Presenting to an eclectic mix of sport licensing professionals and Products of Change members at the first ever in-person POC Sports Meeting this week, Tottenham’s Tony Stevens, said: “It’s about using our platform to show a way forward and taking steps year on year to reduce emissions. The eyes of the world are on us, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that everything we do is as sustainable as possible.”
The Products of Change Sports Track had their first face to face meeting at White Hart Lane this week
That doesn’t begin and end with plastic waste. In fact, in September this year, the Club partnered with Sky to host the world’s first net zero carbon football game. Its match against Chelsea is much less remembered by the team for the score, but the work that went into minimising emissions all the way across match day activity – from energy used to power the game and travel to and from the stadium, to the dietary choices available at the game itself. “We saw a 59 per cent increase in fans choosing a vegan food option,” said Stevens. “Yes, you can look at social media and see that #GameZero was a mixed bag of reactions; but the stats are there. People have taken it on board and I think there is a pride amongst our fans that we are doing what we are doing. People want to be associated with it and with a brand trying to do the right thing. “I think that is important to a lot of our fans and that comes through in the surveys that we do. Take away the noise of social media, and in reality, people do value it and we will see that more and more.” It helps, of course, when the players act as ambassadors themselves for the sustainability cause. Not only does the Spurs’ Training Centre boast its own kitchen Garden in which organic fruit and vegetables are grown, but midfielder Eric Dier is among the growing number to adopt a grow-your-own lifestyle outside of club time, too. In fact, a fan approaching the Stadium with a desire to avoid its sustainability measure will be hard pressed in finding a means. Even its sausage rolls have been through the circular process. “All food produce is locally and sustainably sourced, wherever possible,” continued Stevens. “Even the waste from our stadium’s microbrewery is used to feed the pigs at Wicks Manor Farm, which is less than 50 miles away, which in turn is then used in our pork product at the stadium.” So sustainability enjoys an omnipresence at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But what is the club doing to perpetuate that message with fans when they leave its premises? Well, that’s where its consumer products strategy comes into play. Tottenham Hotspur brand licensing manager, Gary Jacobson, told Products of Change: “We have been looking very closely at what we can do with consumer products to mirror what the club is doing and how that can all tap into what the club stands for.” And to find out what that looks like, stay tuned to the Products of Change newsletter next week…
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