As Sutton United prepares for the biggest game in the club’s history, the National League side is also getting underway with its latest certification accreditation round with The Planet Mark™.
When Sutton United play Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup, next week, it will mark a football first for the National League side. Never before has the south-London club hosted such a prestigious game, being drawn against 12-times winner of the FA Cup, Arsenal. But in another one for the record books, this ‘David and Goliath’ clash will also be played at the first football ground to achieve The Planet Mark™ sustainability certification.
Ahead of Sutton United's dream meeting with the Emirates Stadium's Premier League stars, much is being made of the club's synthetic 3G pitch and modest changing rooms at the club's 5,000 capacity ground, but few realise the club is also tracking its carbon footprint.
“For football fans, the story of Sutton United from the National League reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup is a classic. But what many people may not be so aware of is that Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane is the only ground and football club to have achieved The Planet Mark™,” said Steve Malkin, founder of The Planet Mark™.
Sutton United was first certified by The Planet Mark™ in 2013, after the club’s volunteer committee recognised that sustainability was essential for the Sutton United’s success.
“We were delighted when Sutton United became the first football club to be awarded the prestigious Planet Mark in recognition of its endeavours to become more sustainable," said Dave Farebrother, chairman of the board of directors at Sutton United, who believes that sustainability is a challenge that every business needs to address. "In a way energy is the easy part of the challenge, but we are also looking at how we manage water and waste and we have a big focus on social areas, including people with disabilities and learning opportunities for young people."
“While running a football club sustainably can be a challenge, setting carbon reduction targets is a great way to drive energy efficiency and cost saving, which in turn can contribute to the financial sustainability of any club, whatever its size,” added Malkin.
The Planet Mark™ was founded three years ago with the iconic Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, and is awarded to businesses, properties, new developments and projects that are committed to reducing their carbon emissions.
Since it launched, The Planet Mark™ has certified over 100 organisations and delivered an average carbon emissions reduction of 14.5% per employee for its clients.
Planet Mark-certified businesses have a minimum requirement to reduce their carbon emissions by 2.5% per year.
Sutton's fifth round FA Cup draw with Arsenal, currently third in the Premier League, is set for Monday February 20. It follows Sutton beating Leeds United in the FA Cup last month.