Unleashing the power of football to tackle climate change
Football - the world's most beloved sport - has an unparalleled ability to bring people together. And this year, that power was unleashed to tackle climate change in the inaugural Green Football Weekend. With the participation of more than 80 of the UK's top professional clubs and leagues, reaching millions of fans to take climate action, this campaign demonstrated that by coming together and taking action, we can galvanize the change we need to protect our planet, our health, and our beautiful game. Here’s how it played out…
At its inception, Green Football Weekend had an ambitious vision to raise awareness that individual action can make a significant difference on climate change when we take it together, drive masses of football fans in the UK to take climate-friendly action, and encourage football clubs to commit to take action to reduce their carbon footprint further.
As part of Green Football Weekend, clubs battled it out for the Green Football Cup in a tournament where fan climate-friendly actions—from eating more veggies to taking shorter showers—decided the winner. In taking action fans not only supported their club and helped protect our world, but also had the chance to win exciting prizes.
And action wasn’t limited to fans only. Football clubs enthusiastically embraced sustainability by adopting various eco-friendly initiatives. Over the weekend, 40 teams sported green armbands on the pitch, to raise awareness, and clubs took part in ‘greener games’ to reduce their carbon pollution and showcase their sustainability work. Players and pundits took on climate-friendly challenges and Sky Sports and BT Sport put on an incredible spread of original content.
When the whistle blew, the 2023 Green Football Weekend campaign had reached up to 30 million fans, actively engaging an estimated 39 thousand fans online, resulting in 63,370 reported fan actions or pledges via an innovative tournament model. Manchester United fans scored the most green goals, winning the 2023 Green Football Cup for their club, and showing that by taking small steps together, we can make a huge difference.
The first year of the campaign demonstrated the power of football, one of the world’s greatest cultural forces, to reach fans and shape their attitudes to climate change. It helped fans to understand how climate change is affecting the things they love, consider doing more to combat climate change, and share with their clubs the action they’re taking and demonstrate their willingness for the beautiful game to be a greater force for good in the climate crisis.
Crucially, Green Football Weekend’s impact went beyond the stands. By engaging fans, the campaign signalled to clubs that their fans are in support of taking action on climate and communicating about it. It has also shone light on fans’ overwhelming support for their clubs making real efforts to make football more sustainable.
While the campaign successfully mobilized fans who were already concerned about climate change and actively taking action, there exists a significant opportunity to engage an even larger number of fans who are concerned but have yet to participate actively. By reaching out to this group, future editions of the Green Football Weekend can have an even more profound impact. To do this, we drew on a set of valuable insights from Green Football Weekend 2023, to fold into future editions of the campaign and for other sports to effectively campaign on climate. Read the report.
We took a cue from the game, by teaming up with a set of ambitious organizations and communities to power the campaign. Count Us In joined forces with sport broadcast giants Sky Sports and BT Sport, action platforms Planet League and Pledgeball, and the Football Supporters Association. And, in the spirit of radical collaboration, we garnered the backing of more than 30 major supporters in the footballing community and beyond, reaching fans in every corner of the UK with a united message of climate action.
As we start building the 2024 edition of Green Football Weekend, sponsorship and partnership opportunities are now open, you can join Green Football Weekend 2024. Want to learn more? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.