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Liverpool reveals progress despite flight emissions increase

April 04 2024 - News Release News Editorial

Liverpool, widely considered to be a sustainability benchmark-setter in the English Premier League, has revealed a sharp increase in team and business-related flight emissions in its latest sustainability report covering the 2022-23 season.

Liverpool reveals progress despite flight emissions increase

Liverpool saw 37% fewer flights taken by the team during the 2022-23 season, as outlined in The Red Way 2022-23 Report, which details developments through the football club’s overarching sustainability and social initiative, The Red Way.

However, as the first team’s pre-season tour took place in Asia rather than Europe, team-related flight emissions actually increased by approximately 600 tCO2e year-on-year.

Additionally, the 2022-23 season saw more flights taken by colleagues for business purposes, accounting for an increase from 1,375 to 2,559 tCO2e. The club said that this rise reflected “the growing demands and needs of commercial activity across the world”.

The report added: “All decisions on colleague travel are made in direct alignment with the club’s Travel Policy that takes into account business needs, sustainability and associated costs.”

Liverpool’s carbon footprint for the 2022-23 season amounted to 75,142 tCO2e, including 12,915 tCO2e from fan travel – a 3% reduction versus its 2019-20 baseline.

Meanwhile, a particular highlight from the report was the increased recycling rates of plastic bottles at Anfield from 25% in 2021-22 to 90% in 2022-23. Elsewhere, some 94% of club operations run on clean energy.

While offsetting is a divisive subject – see last week’s Global Sustainable Sport feature – Liverpool has committed to offsetting 100% of its emissions from football operations, and has offset its scope 1 and 2 emissions for the last three years through the PAS2060 standard.

“Reducing our emissions will take time to implement, particularly through our supply chain and industries where we do not have direct control. But we want to do more to minimise our impact now." Liverpool Football Club

The club has also signed up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, which means it must make a 50% reduction in actual carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

“Reducing our emissions will take time to implement, particularly through our supply chain and industries where we do not have direct control. But we want to do more to minimise our impact now,” read the report.

Liverpool has been recognised as a frontrunner for sustainability and was named the greenest club in the Premier League last year, after topping the Sport Positive Environmental Sustainability League for two years in a row.

Our Planet

During the 2022-23 season, Liverpool undertook 28 internal audits of different areas of the club to drive continual improvement of its ISO 20121 sustainability management system.

Launched during the current season, refreshed packaging has removed plastic cellophane and wrap from products wherever possible, with a move to offer increased numbers of sustainably made retail products. Goals include aligning 100% of retail suppliers for own brand products to the sustainable procurement code, and working towards 100% compliance with policy and code for licensed suppliers.

The club witnessed a 10% reduction in overall waste during the 2022-23 season, with 100% diversion from landfill and a 90% matchday PET plastic bottle recycling rate. To achieve this, Liverpool implemented new waste stream segregation, new signage and waste point location across Anfield; reviewed its Waste Resource Management Plan to encourage improvement; focused on PET bottle recovery on matchdays; trialled closed loop recycling of unsellable merchandise; and achieved a 49% recycling rate across all of the club’s sites.

Liverpool worked with its supplier to convert team buses to 100% hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO), which helped to reduce emissions by up to 90% compared to regular diesel. With a focus on biodiversity, the club has been developing its allotment site since the 2022-23 season, and has upgraded signage to communicate with guests about its importance.

Of course, a club like Liverpool has also concentrated heavily on its duty to the local community. Approximately 123,000 people were supported by the LFC Foundation during the 2022-23 season, with almost 800 attending employability programme sessions.

The LFC Foundation focuses on delivering in key areas of need such as community engagement, sport and physical activity, health and wellbeing, education and life skills, youth intervention, and employment and training.

In the report’s foreword, Liverpool’s Commercial Director and Executive Sponsor of The Red Way, said: “We are committed to running the club in a way that minimises our impact on the environment and maximises the impact we can have for our people and in our communities.”

Main Image: David Bayliss on Unsplash

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