Manchester United stays ahead of the game with big goals for a sustainable future
Headquarters: Old Trafford, United Kingdom
One of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world
Has more than 1.1 billion fans and followers across the globe
12 consecutive years of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Committed to integrating renewable fuels into day-to-day operations
Manchester United is a global soccer giant that refuses to sit still. The club is proud, of course, of its more than 66 trophies in its 144-year history. But while winning on the pitch is what makes Manchester United one of the most successful
sports teams in the world, its commitment to sustainability is what makes it a champion for a healthy planet.
"We want to use the power of football to really have a positive impact on our people, on the environment in which we operate, and also on the wider society," says Collette Roche, chief operating officer of Manchester United. "We constantly want to get better in every area, and push the boundaries further, and we look to our partners to help us do that."
Shared Values: The REG and Manchester United Partnership
To help Manchester United promote a more sustainable future, the club sought a partner that was ambitious, collaborative and truly interested in developing a relationship with fans across the globe. But it also came down to values. Manchester United wanted to work with a partner that not only believed in creating a greener future – but was already doing it.
"REG is a very important partner for us," Roche says. "They're obviously specialists in terms of renewable energy. But they, like us, want to do the right things. And more importantly, they want to do the right things in the right way."
Roche says the responsibility to protect the future should be felt globally, not just for now but for future generations. REG has worked closely with Manchester United to review and improve its sustainability plans, including day-to-day operations that will keep the club moving forward with its goals.
"We've found REG very collaborative and innovative," Roche says. "They are always available to offer support and ideas on how we can continually improve."
Teaming With Renewable Energy Group to Move Forward
Manchester United has used petroleum fuels in its groundskeeping equipment for more than 100 years. Recently the club made a decision to introduce renewable fuels into its operations – first on the training grounds south of Old Trafford and, currently, in the world-renowned stadium itself. The move to invest in REG's UltraClean BlenD™ underscores Manchester United’s commitment to innovation – and the environment – when it comes to maintaining a pristine pitch.
"We want to be at the forefront,” says Grounds Manager Tony Sinclair. “We want to be able to say to our colleagues, ‘We’re protecting you, we’re protecting the environment and we’re protecting the rest of the people around us.’ So this is huge. It’s absolutely huge.”
Sinclair says initial testing of REG's UltraClean BlenD™ has been so successful that he plans to transition it into more of Manchester United's equipment. "When we're mowing, we're using a better product," he says. "And it's not just good for the environment, it's good for us. My team says, 'We can see we're using a product that's cleaner' and that can only be good for them."
Steve Klein, senior marketing manager for REG, says the successful testing of UltraClean BlenD™ by Manchester United is a big step in the club's expanding effort to decarbonize its operations.
"Our partnership is creating a cleaner environment and bringing awareness to how bio-based fuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, today," Klein says.
A History of Sustainable Development Goals
For more than 12 years, Manchester United has been focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through purposeful sustainability goals across the organization. For example, the club cut waste by roughly 32 percent in the last eight years, drastically reduced water consumption, and invested in LED lighting and building management systems that save energy.
Such efforts are important not just to the club, but to its supporters – 98 percent of Manchester United fans believe environmental changes must be made to the planet now, to ensure a better future. And with a billion fans and followers across every continent, it's a powerful, shared sentiment.
"Sustainability is part of our ethos," says Andrew Ward, director of media relations and public affairs at Manchester United. "It's key to the success of a sports team like Manchester United. We absolutely think about the health and sustainability of the societies in which our fans live."