The first sustainable all-wood stadium being built by a vegan football club

Environmentalist Dale Vince and its vegan football club Forest Green Rovers will build the world's first wooden football stadium.

Based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England – Forest Green Rovers is a unique football club. Competing in League Two, it is a carbon-neutral and the world’s first all-vegan football club.

The move to “go vegan” came after environmentalist entrepreneur Dale Vince took over the club in 2010. But the food was just a starting point…

Now, Forest Green Rovers is preparing to build what will be the world’s first wooden football stadium. Called Eco Park, the wooden structure will look like the “ribs of a prehistoric animal,” and get all of its power from sustainable energy sources, provided by the green energy company Ecotricity — also owned by Dale Vince — and the stadium’s own solar panels.

Two football pitches will be organic and cut by a solar-powered mow-bot that texts updates to the club’s groundskeeper. Collected rainwater irrigates the pitch, and all food served by the Club is vegan — for players, staff and fans.

Nevertheless, the carbon-neutral (or carbon-negative) stadium will have (landscaped) parking spots, but the club will encourage spectators to travel to games via public transport — even promising to subsidize buses from local areas, and run a trial bus from a nearby train station.

The story to build a wooden stadium itself was super-popular and helped spread the message about the vegan football club, which now has fan clubs in over 20 different countries. So yes, it was worth it for a multitude of reasons.

Zaha Hadid Architects designed the £100 million 5,000 seater stadium in Gloucestershire.

Forest Green Rovers has been promoting sustainability for quite some time now. In 2018, the United Nations awarded it a carbon-neutral certification. In the same year, it received the United Nations Environment Programme’s “Momentum of Change” climate action award.

Takeaway

Who says that sports clubs can't be environmentally friendly? In fact, many of the world's biggest football (soccer) clubs are heavily investing in various green initiatives, but no one comes close to Forest Green Rovers.

When completed, their all-wood stadium will prove the world that wood can, in some cases, replace concrete to provide for a greener and equally solid structure. Add solar panels and renewable energy sources to the mix - and you get a stadium that isn't only carbon neutral, but potentially even carbon negative.
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Action point

FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
As a (local) politician, you may want to push for the idea of local sports clubs training and having matches in sustainable stadiums. In fact, you may want to help them develop such a project while also supporting their other green initiatives. We're talking about subsidies for new building developments if they are going to be made from sustainable materials like wood. Heck, you may also want to think about what else could be made from wood. These sorts of initiatives are not only good for the environment but could also propel your career to new heights. And let's not forget all the free press such endeavors bring...

FOR BUSINESSES:
Developers and consultants could team-up with local sports clubs to help them prepare a project for building a new stadium using sustainable materials. These sorts of initiatives are not only good for the environment but could also propel your business to new heights. Just imagine a big project like a sustainable stadium being built with your help — it would open many new doors for your company, helping you score other clients and projects down the road. And let's not forget all the free press such endeavors bring...