Episode #9 – The renewable energy entrepreneur and club chairman talks about his journey transforming a struggling football club into a brand synonymous with environmental stewardship
This week’s episode of The Sustainability Report Podcast is the last in the current series. And what better way to end this run than by talking to one of the pioneers of the sport and sustainability movement, Dale Vince.
Almost a decade ago, Vince was asked to invest in a cash-strapped, poorly-performing football club in the south-west of England. After reluctantly dipping his toe in, Vince decided to become its chairman and went about transforming Forest Green Rovers from a perennial struggler to one of the most recognisable sports brands in the world.
At the heart of that brand is sustainability. A vegan menu, renewable energy, organic pitch and electric car charging points are some of the pieces that fostered the club’s unique identity. It recently became the first carbon-neutral sports team in the world – and was named football’s most sustainable club by FIFA.
During this episode, Vince discusses his journey with Forest Green Rovers, and how success off the pitch has been mirrored by improving results on the pitch.
He also talks about Forest Green Rovers becoming a founding member of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework – and how he sees sport becoming a climate-leading industry.
“We do think environmental sustainability and on-pitch success is symbiotic,” says Vince. “They support each other. The media attention we get, for example, helps us grow the crowd, helps us get sponsors, and I think it helps us attract players as well. As for the football side of things, when we’re successful on the pitch that brings credibility to our eco message.”
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