Shirts made of coffee and e-cars: Vegan football club promoted to the 3rd division

Jerseys made of coffee and e-cars
Vegan football club promoted to the 3rd division

The tofu burgers are still not very popular with the visiting fans, but the Forest Green Rovers are doing extremely well in terms of sport. The first climate-neutral club manages to get promoted to the 3rd division and is now even playing against Wayne Rooney. But that shouldn’t be all.

Dale Vince’s mission is not yet complete. The rich club owner has already formed his heart project, the Forest Green Rovers, into the greenest club in the world and led it into England’s third division – but Vince wants more. “First secure the league, then move up – and at some point play for the championship,” said the energy entrepreneur, a goal that was more than ambitious. According to Vince, however, the promotion is already “a big step” for his special football club, with which he has already achieved a lot, especially off the pitch.

Because the Forest Green Rovers fully and successfully focus on sustainability. In 2018, the United Nations recognized Rovers as the first climate-neutral club in the world, and the club is completely vegan. The jerseys are made from coffee leftovers, and the energy requirement is completely covered by renewable sources.

The greatest moment in the club’s history, promotion to League One, was celebrated in the dressing room with vegan pizza, and the players naturally drive electric cars. “I’ve never seen a club where everyone is moving in the same direction as we are,” said centre-back Dan Sweeney. And that goes for on and off the field. A smaller club has never been among the top 68 teams in England, in the coming season the team of team manager Rob Edwards will compete with, among others, the former Premier League club Derby County around coach Wayne Rooney.

New stadium to be the most environmentally friendly in the world

The rise was “the proudest moment” of his career, said Edwards, who can still secure the League Two championship title with the Rovers on Saturday. The club from the small town of Nailsworth, about 180 kilometers west of London, blossomed from insignificance in the fifth division to the third division after taking over Vince in 2010 – and never lost sight of its own mission. “It’s completely different here than at other clubs. At the end of the day we’re trying to save the world,” said former attacker Christian Doidge.

The Rovers have come a long way towards acceptance. The guest fans in particular did not always get along with the exclusively vegan stadium menu, instead of bratwurst, the Rovers have tofu and veggie burgers. And these will soon be served in the new stadium. The “Green Eco Park” is the Rovers’ next big project, a stadium made entirely of wood – it should be the most environmentally friendly in the world.

Only one piece of the puzzle is missing for the Rovers to bring their own CO₂ balance to zero: the climate-neutral journey to the away games. Up until now, the club had always rented an electric bus, but it has now purchased its own electric minibus. “He will help us,” said Vince, “to ban the last fossil fuels from the club.”

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