VfL Wolfsburg tops new Bundesliga environmental rankings

VfL Wolfsburg shows an “exemplary commitment to the environment," according to the organisation Sport Positive. [Shutterstock | Michele Morrone]

Football club VfL Wolfsburg is the most environmentally friendly team in the Bundesliga, according to the latest rankings from Sport Positive, an organisation working to rank Europe’s football leagues by environmental commitment. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Located in central Germany, VfL Wolfsburg is Germany’s “greenest football club”, having received full marks (21 of 21) for their environmental efforts in the rankings released on Wednesday (7 April).

The club has an “exemplary commitment to the environment, showing holistic efforts across all clubs operations,” a press release from Sport Positive noted. 

Key among these efforts is running on 100% renewable energy at their facilities, which the club has been doing since 2011, as well as sending no waste to landfills and encouraging fans, employees, and volunteers to travel to matches by bike, carpool, or public transport.

The club was awarded additional points for offering a variety of vegetarian and vegan options at their stadium, and for its participation in the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework, which it signed in 2019. 

“The top position in the football sustainability table shows that we are on the right track, which in turn is an additional motivation – because we still have a lot to do,” the team’s managing director Michael Meeske said of the rankings.  

“Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges in society. Which means, for football – with its power to change – it is not only an obligation, it is a responsibility,” he added.

In second place, one point below Wolfsburg, is the FC Cologne, while Bayern Munich and TSG Hoffenheim are tied for third place with 17 points each. 

The teams are ranked according to eight different metrics, which are intended to “reflect the environmental impacts of putting on a sports match, and initiatives that are under way at clubs,” the group explains on their website. Some categories include energy efficiency, sustainable transport, and reducing and removing single-use plastics.

How sustainable is German football?

There are currently no fans in the stadium. Sad for the fans, but good for the environment, because fans are a burden on the climate. Sooner or later, they will come back, and in the meantime, clubs can take care of their CO2 balance. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Further rankings planned

This is Sport Positive’s first Bundesliga rankings, but the organisation already started this project in 2019, with rankings of the UK’s Premier League. 

“The aim of this table is to encourage clubs to increase their commitment to sustainability,” Sport Positive founder Claire Poole explained to EURACTIV in an earlier interview. 

Released in January 2021, the 2020 update to the Premier League rankings showed the Tottenham Hotspurs scoring the maximum amount of points available. This was in part due to the club signing the UN Sports for Climate Framework.

Sport Positive intends to release further rankings for La Liga (Spain), Ligue 1 (France), and Serie A (Italy) in 2021.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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