How GREENFOOT combines crowdfunding and sustainability in sports

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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The next ten years will determine if we meet the 1.5°C  global warming target or not. Sustainable actions in football can have a massive positive impact on the environment but the clubs cannot achieve all goals on their owns. However, clubs and associations can inspire their fans and community to take action alongside them.

Marius Stegemann is a Marketing & Communications Manager at The European Football for Development Network (EFDN), a partner in the consortium of the GREENFOOT project.

Jed Cohen, the Coordinator of the GREENFOOT Horizon 2020 project explained at the 15th EFDN Conference that a LifeTackle (a project supported by the LIFE programme) survey showed that a large percentage of club managers are primarily interested in the protection of its environment and the preservation of natural resources and that fans also value these actions as well as prevention of pollution. Therefore, crowdfunding is a good tool for clubs to finance sustainability initiatives since it gives fans and the local community a unique opportunity to directly team up with the club and help it to finance a project with low interest rates.

The two common models are peer-to-peer lending and equity crowdfunding with fewer people participating while getting higher benefits. Reward-based crowdfunding is currently increasing and represents a high number of participants with a smaller quantity of money. Football is uniting the popularity, community, interest and emotion of people. GREENFOOT uses these aspects, rewards fan commitment and creates a transformational potential to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

The GREENFOOT concept is to finance sport building energy efficiency (EE) renovations and renewable energy (RES) installations with crowdfunding schemes that propel Europeans to become active participants in the energy transition through their love of sports and their favourite teams. The GREENFOOT concept is applicable to sports-related buildings of all types and beyond, and will be demonstrated on three participating football buildings during the project runtime from major international football organisations (French Football Federation, Football Association of Ireland and Azerbaijan Football Association). 

In his presentation during the 15th EFDN Conference, Jed Cohen also described examples of large-scale sustainability actions in football that are being pursued through publicly funded projects. The presentation is available as a PDF on the EFDN website

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