The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and SSE Airtricity, title sponsor of the SSE Airtricity Premier & First Division and Women’s National League have today announced a major new sustainability drive aimed at improving the environmental footprint of Irish football. The initiative will see every club across the leagues given access to internationally recognised sustainability accreditation experts GreenCode. Using their unrivalled experience in football sustainability, GreenCode will help the clubs audit, measure and drive their environmental initiatives towards full accreditation.
This is the first green initiative of this scale ever launched in Ireland and builds on the work undertaken by SSE Airtricity last season with clubs across the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, SSE Airtricity First Division and SSE Airtricity Women's National League. The shared ambition of the leagues and SSE Airtricity is to help build one of the most environmentally sustainable football leagues in the world.
GreenCode is a global green accreditation scheme which is accessible to all organisations, it is an approach that has been developed over many years which has developed the world’s greenest football club, Forest Green Rovers.
GreenCode recognises that sustainability is a journey, with the focus on creating a starting place for clubs and providing a clear road map towards greater sustainability year after year. The GreenCode standards cover areas such as water, waste, energy, procurement and biodiversity. The process begins with a simple assessment before moving towards bespoke plans and advice on helping clubs progress.
Speaking at the launch announcement, Mark Scanlon, League of Ireland Director at the FAI, said: “We’ve seen how football can play a huge role in inspiring positive change across our communities and nowhere is that change needed more today than in combatting climate change and building more environmentally sustainable communities. Building on our long-standing partnership with SSE Airtricity, this initiative offers our clubs a unique opportunity to avail of world class supports from people who know what it takes to make positive environmental changes in football. We’re excited by the responses from many of our clubs and look forward to developing the initiative over the coming season.”
Áine Plunkett, Head of Brand, Advertising & Sponsorship, Energy Customer Solutions GB (SSE Energy Solutions) & Ireland (SSE Airtricity), said: “This is a significant moment in our partnership with Irish football. To be able to help clubs across the leagues improve their sustainability footprint is a huge opportunity. Last year through our ‘A Common Goal’ campaign, we started exploring how to adopt more sustainable practices across the leagues and we were really encouraged by the response from clubs. This initiative takes that work up a step and with the help of GreenCode we hope to transform the sustainability footprint of the leagues and see Irish clubs recognised as some of the most environmentally progressive clubs in world football.”
Henry Staelens, CEO of GreenCode and Forest Green Rovers, added “We’ve learned a huge amount over the years through our work with Forest Green Rovers and the wider football community. Perhaps the biggest learning is that making greener choices is not just better for our world, but it also makes sense commercially. The clubs and organisations that have started on this journey are reducing costs and attracting additional revenue. We are all fully aware of the scale of the challenge facing our planet but only by working together and taking positive action can we start to turn the tide and I believe football has a critical role in inspiring this change. We’re proud to be here today on an exciting new dawn for football in Ireland and look forward to sharing our learnings and helping Irish clubs on their own sustainability journey.”
The GreenCode accreditation will be rolled out to clubs across the leagues this season and will be fully funded by SSE Airtricity.