Sutton United: out of the FA Cup but still a sustainability winner

Feb 23, 2017 | News

By <a href="" target="_self">George Catchpole</a>

By George Catchpole

Marketing Manager

It was always going to take a giant leap for Planet Mark-certified Sutton United Football Club to beat Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup, but the south London club is already showing it is a winner in sustainability terms, cutting its carbon footprint by 14% last year.


Sutton United Football Club made a valiant effort to defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. In the end it didn’t prove enough, but the club can be proud of what it has achieved – and not just on the pitch. The club, which is run by volunteers, cut its carbon footprint by 13.8% in 2016, ensuring it retains the title of being the first ever football ground to achieve The Planet Mark™ sustainability certification.

The certificate is in recognition of the club showing good practice in sustainability including:

  • measuring its carbon footprint including natural gas, electricity and waste reducing its carbon footprint by 13.8% in tonnes of CO2e (tCO2e)
  • recycling 88% of its waste
  • investing in the Eden Project to support education on climate change
  • storing 260 tCO2e by protecting one acre of endangered rainforest through the charity Cool Earth
  • Committing to engage employees and suppliers to drive improvements.

Sutton United’s total carbon footprint year ending December 2016 was 65.1 tCO2e in 2016, equivalent to 2.17 tCO2e per employee. The club’s biggest savings were in its gas consumption (down 39% in 2016 compared to 2015). The reductions were mostly attributed to installing double glazed windows in the mail hall and decommissioning a leaking boiler in Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane club buildings, the latter having become the subject of much media attention ever since Sutton United’s dream meeting with the Emirates Stadium’s Premier League stars was confirmed last month.

Dave Farebrother, chairman of the board of directors at Sutton United and himself a chartered environmentalist, has been instrumental in pushing through the sustainability measures at the club. He said: “We like to say that our club is much more than just the first team, we have a number of teams playing at all age-groups and our community programme is very active in the local area. I’ve even been into local schools to talk about sustainability. I think climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face but, as our team has shown in its magnificent FA Cup run, challenges are there to be overcome.”

Steve Malkin, founder of The Planet Mark™, added: “We are delighted to support Sutton United and, in our small way, contribute to the club’s success. The club’s 2016-17 FA Cup run is the stuff of football folklore. And despite the dream ending this week, Sutton are certainly winners in sustainability.”

According to reports, Sutton will earn nearly a quarter of a million pounds just from TV broadcasting rights alone for this FA Cup clash against Arsenal. Other sponsorship deals and prize money could add up to significantly more. If some of that money is ploughed back into low carbon measures, the club’s position as a sustainability leader will be secured for years to come.