Adopting three climate-friendly habits over the World Cup gives UK fans the power to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to taking nearly half of Leeds’ cars off the road

  • Fans could save 900 million kg CO2e by taking shorter showers, eating more veggies and turning down the thermostat by 1 degree for the length of the FIFA World Cup.
  • Maintaining these habits for a year could reduce fans’ household bills by £728.
  • Data unveiled marks the countdown to Green Football Weekend, when clubs, fans and the wider footballing community will together take action to tackle climate change

Pledgeball is delighted to be a founding member of Green Football Weekend, rallying together the biggest collective to protect the game that we love and the places it’s played.

Figures released today show the UK’s World Cup fans have the power to reduce carbon pollution by more than 900 million kg CO2e – the equivalent of taking nearly half of Leeds’ cars off the road – by adopting three simple climate-friendly habits over the month-long tournament:

1)    Reducing shower time to 4 minutes.

2)    Having two veggie days per week.

3)    Turning the thermostat down by 1 degree.

Based on the 26.5 million fans who watched the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final in 2018, these actions by fans could create the carbon equivalent of:

1)    taking 55,196 cars off the road or planting 4.23 million trees (4 minute showers)

2)    taking 77,209 cars off the road or planting 5.92 million trees (two veggie days per week).

3)    taking 67,405 cars off the road or planting 5.17 million trees (turning the thermostat down).

The figures come as an innovative partnership of more than 25 organisations announce their participation in the world’s biggest football-climate campaign, Green Football Weekend, which will see more than 80 of the UK’s professional football clubs and their fans mobilising to tackle climate change.

If UK World Cup fans adopted these simple habits throughout the year, they would up their impact even more, taking a total of 2.4 million cars off the road every year (a total 11.128 billion kg CO2e) – nearly all the number of cars registered in London.

In addition to protecting our world, making these changes could shave up to £728 off the average household’s food and energy bills.

Over Green Football Weekend, taking place in early February 2023, millions of UK fans will be encouraged to take climate-friendly actions to score green goals to help their club win the coveted Green Football Cup. Clubs across the leagues will be making their weekend fixtures ‘greener games’, improving their on-site recycling, serving veggie food and supporting sustainable travel to games. Schools and community groups will be running special Green Football Weekend activities, and high profile players will be encouraging fans to get scoring for their clubs.

Green Football Weekend, which is set to become an annual event, is powered by Sky, BT Sport, the Football Supporters Association, Pledgeball, Planet League, First News and Count Us In. The campaign is also supported by the English Football League and Forest Green Rovers.

Its partners include Athletes of the World, BASIS, The Church of England, County Football Associations across the country, Common Goal, Extreme Hangout, Football for Future, High Impact Athletes, Let’s Go Zero, National Trust, Possible, The OSCAR Foundation, Rainforest Trust UK, RSPB, Sport Positive, Supporters Direct Scotland, Transform Our World and UN Live.

Brentford defender, Ben Mee, said: “Our footballing community has incredible power to help protect our pitches, our air, our world, just by taking simple green actions at home. There are so many small ways fans can take green actions – at home, at work, at their local football clubs – and every small action fans take adds up to making a massive difference. I’m so proud to see the world of football, from fans to clubs to local leagues, coming together to have fun and protect our world.”

Tottenham Hotspur defender, Amy Turner, said: “Green Football Weekend is fan action at its most powerful. It’s fans who can lead their club to victory in the Green Football Cup, and fans showing the world what millions of us coming together can do. We’ve achieved amazing things when we’ve joined forces before – now it’s time to unleash the power of football to tackle climate change.”

Sarah Jacobs, Green Football Weekend, said: “Climate change affects all of us, and football is showing we can all do something to tackle it, whether you’re cycling instead of driving to training, or using a refillable water bottle at a match. Individual action has the power to reduce global carbon emissions by nearly a third. It’s incredible to see so many partners coming together to build the power of Green Football Weekend.”

Fergus Garber, Director of Broadcast & Production Operations BT Sport, said: “Our support for Green Football Weekend continues BT Sport’s journey to be a sustainable broadcaster. We are looking forward to joining with Green Football Weekend’s other partners and broadcasters to help combat the climate emergency, and plan to bring fans plenty of fun and thought-provoking moments across Green Football Weekend. We encourage football fans to get involved in Green Football Weekend.” 

Katie Cross, Pledgeball founder, said: “The football fan community is vast and powerful. Together, we have gathered huge quantities of food for foodbanks, fundraised for many great causes, and made our voices heard on multiple important issues. The impact we can have by taking action to tackle climate change – whether through a big or a small change – is huge. Green Football Weekend will showcase this collective strength and we can’t wait to see it come together.

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