Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League match against Chelsea on Sunday is not only a much anticipated London derby but also the world’s first net-zero football match. Spurs, in collaboration with Sky, COP26 and the Premier League, are encouraging fans to be mindful of their environmental impact throughout the day by asking them to take public transport to the stadium and recycle when there.
The game is an excellent way to draw public and businesses’ attention to the topic of sustainability, and the need to use greener operating practices. It also highlights the need for businesses to consider the effects of customer interaction with a product or service and how they can impact and influence customer decision-making as part of their wider green journey.
With 50,000 fans in the stadium and millions more watching from around the world, Tottenham Hotspur will draw a huge amount of notice to the need for events to be more environmentally friendly, and it will support the plausibility of large-scale net-zero events.
Encouraging fans to travel to the match on public transport or bicycle, choose plant-based food options and recycle when in the stadium highlights that businesses and events organisers looking to decarbonise have to consider wider customer behaviours as part of their own strategy. If all fans were to travel to the game in a car by themselves, for example, the benefits of the net-zero stadium would be counteracted.
It would be positive to see this match trigger a chain reaction of football and other sporting clubs decarbonising matches and encouraging better sustainability practices within stadiums to support the UK’s efforts against climate change and publicise that large events can and should be net-zero, as the world returns to in-person events after the pandemic. The Premier League, a product that is consumed by millions across the world, is a strong and wide-reaching platform to convey the message of sustainability and net-zero.
Author David Carroll is Senior Corporate Accounts Manager at Gazprom Energy