Forest Green Rovers has been recognised by the United Nations, after receiving a “Momentum for Change” climate action award in New York last night.
Forest Green received the award in the Climate Neutral Now category, after becoming the first football club in the world to work with the UN to go carbon neutral at the start of the season.
The 15 winners were presented with their awards by Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, at Climate Week NYC – one of the key sustainability summits in the international calendar.
FGR chairman, Dale Vince, was one of five speakers at the event, where he discussed the club’s unique approach to tackling climate change – which includes the introduction of a fully vegan menu, an organic pitch, electric car chargers, the installation of solar panels and a solar powered robot lawnmower.
As a part of the award, Forest Green Rovers will travel to the next UN climate change conference - COP24 – which takes place in Katowice, Poland in December this year.
FGR chairman, Dale Vince, said: "We’re pretty chuffed to have this recognition from the United Nations for our work in promoting sustainability through sport.
“Plenty of people doubted we could make this improbable combination of a football club and the environment work, but it’s proven to be a powerful combination.
“We’ve reached over 3 billion people in the last year with our story and our messaging and all around the world people have become fans of FGR because of the stand we take on environmental issues - we now have fan clubs in over 20 different countries.
“We’ve created a new kind of football club and a new kind of fan, people who are fans of football and the environment.”
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “These activities shine a light on scalable climate action around the world. They are proof that climate action isn’t only possible, it’s innovative, it’s exciting and it makes a difference.”
Momentum for Change award winning activities range from a mobile app that promotes the fight against food waste and hunger worldwide to an entire government that is taking 100% responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions.
Selected initiatives, called ‘Lighthouse Activities,’ demonstrate the unprecedented amount of climate action happening around the world. Last night’s announcement is part of a wider effort to mobilise action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals at COP24 in Poland.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “Climate action leaders, including those recognised by the Momentum for Change initiative, are stepping up to meet the global climate challenge by delivering on the Paris Agreement.
“These inspirational leaders, from communities, governments, businesses and organisations, come from all corners of the globe and all levels of society. Their winning projects range from transformative financial investments to women-led solutions to protect people and the planet. Through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change.”
The 2018 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum, Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Forum (WiSER) initiative, and Climate Neutral Now.