Blues go green
By Brandice Alexander
Ipswich Town Football Club has reached its goal of becoming carbon neutral, six months after launching a campaign in October 2006.
In partnership with the club's main sponsor, E.ON, Ipswich looked to counteract the calculated 3000 tonnes of carbon dioxide it produces at Portman Road. The website Save Your Energy for the Blues was set up in order to partly offset the figure by asking fans to pledge their homes to become energy efficient.
The club says it has decreased its own energy consumption by 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Fans, local businesses and surrounding schools backed the Blues by making pledges such as switching to energy-saving lightbulbs and buying hybrid fuel cars. As well as making a positive contribution to the environment, fans stood the chance of winning 'money can't buy' prizes, while Jim Magilton will now benefit from a cheque from E.ON to bolster his transfer funds.
Over 12,400 Town fans pledged to make their homes energy efficient. Pupils from St Peter and St Paul CEVAP from Eye, Sidegate Primary School from Ipswich, and Beyton Middle School of Bury St Edmunds (who were awarded first prize for their efforts in this campaign) have incorporated the idea of energy efficiency into their everyday school life. Their efforts made a huge difference and saved 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Jason De Vos turns down his thermostat
The players at Portman Road have also helped offset the 3000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by taking actions such as turning thermostats down and switching equipment off standby mode.
Jason De Vos, Ipswich captain and Save Your Energy for the Blues Ambassador, said: "It has been encouraging to see what the children have been doing in their schools to reduce their energy consumption and help tackle climate change."
Jason has been inspired by the team at the stadium and has incorporated the energy saving ideas into his own home. Ok so he hasn't gone all the way and given up the Range Rover yet, but he has had an energy audit done by E.ON and renewed his old boiler.
Many fans have been walking to games rather than driving and the club says some of the lads in the team have set up a carpool to get to Portman Road (but you don't have my word that they've sold any of their flash cars!).
But credit where its due, ITFC have certainly set the ball rolling. They have worked alongside their fans in this project, inspired young people and possibly inspired other football clubs into becoming carbon neutral.
The scheme has attracted praise from Ian Pearson, the Climate Change and Environment Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): "The fight against climate change isn't a game of two halves. We all need to take action now, not sit back and wait for the right moment to strike. If we do that, it'll be too late.
"It's very encouraging that Ipswich Town FC - with support from the Climate Challenge Fund - have risen to the challenge and become Britain's first carbon neutral football club. I hope others will follow their lead.
"And importantly their fans have been at the heart of this achievement - showing there's a real appetite to get to grips with the issue at grass roots level.
"When we set up the Climate Challenge Fund, this is exactly the sort of project we were aiming for - an initiative that spreads the word about climate change and encourages people to do their bit."
However, this campaign is all part of a much bigger picture. Ipswich have been supported by The Carbon Trust, The Energy Savings Trust, and The Carbon Reduction Programme (CRed) - established at the University of East Anglia. The University has challenged people across the country to reduce their own carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
We'll all have to wait and see whether that goal is met but for now ITFC are the only team to have won the title of being 100 per cent carbon neutral, leaving no other club in their league.
last updated: 11/04/2008 at 13:19
Have Your Say
Are Town setting the standard for other clubs to follow? Or is this a short-term publicity stunt?