Can you rephrase this? “The Spin | Edgbaston sets an example of environmental sustainability despite challenges”
Interested in discussing the processes of eliminating gas in kitchens and promoting eco-friendly coach travel? Let’s indulge, just for the duration of England’s middle order collapse in a World Cup game. These topics were heavily debated at the recent BASIS Awards, hosted in early November at the All England club.
Sports organizations are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, and this includes examining their kitchens. Wimbledon and Lord’s are in the initial stages of implementing this change, which involves various adjustments, in order to transition from using gas to an electric alternative.
Stuart Dunlop, the manager of sustainability and accessibility at the MCC, stated that they are taking a comprehensive approach to their efforts. This includes making changes to the hot water supply, heating, and cooking methods. They are also considering factors such as ventilation, AC units, LED lights, repurposing old equipment, recycling, and composting. These measures are being implemented to achieve a “net zero” kitchen.
He promptly alleviated any concerns by stating that these changes would not impact the renowned Lord’s lunch. The entire procedure is integral to the Lord’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions – with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2040.
However, the standout winner at the BASIS sustainability awards was not Lord’s, but Edgbaston. The latter was nominated for three out of the six awards and emerged victorious in two categories: team of the year for its Go Green game featuring England and New Zealand, and partnership of the year between the club and National Express.
The Go Green Game, a Twenty20 event that took place in early September, had two main goals: to increase audience understanding of the climate crisis and to promote actions that can help mitigate it, while also reducing emissions during the game. Some eco-friendly measures taken for the match included not serving red meat at the venue, using electric rollers and mowers, using food packaging made from seaweed, and powering the ground solely with wind, hydro, and solar energy. However, the most notable collaboration was between the club and National Express.
Edgbaston, unlike the Oval, Old Trafford, or Lord’s, does not have access to a tube or tram line. This means that the majority of emissions on match days come from the travel of spectators and staff, making up 79%. This is a common issue for sports clubs when trying to decrease their environmental impact. Changing human behavior is a difficult task, as habits are deeply ingrained and people prioritize convenience.
Lydia Carrington, the sustainability manager of Edgbaston, states that while there may be a tram stop by 2040, waiting for infrastructure is not an option. She believes that it is important to communicate to spectators that they have the power to make a significant impact.
National Express was already working with the club, offering a shuttle bus service from Birmingham New Street to the ground during T20, Hundred and international matches. A return ticket usually costs £5 for adults. For the Go Green game, however, the shuttle bus was free when spectators showed their match-day tickets. Spectators could also travel for free on any of Birmingham’s public buses.
The club decreased the available parking spaces at Edgbaston from 600-1,000 to 150, anticipating a higher demand for public transportation. To accommodate this, they ran eight extra buses constantly shuttling between the two venues, compared to the busiest day of the Ashes. In total, 3,617 individuals utilized the shuttle bus, which was a 13.4% increase from the busiest day of the Ashes. An additional 1,000 people also opted for the free public bus option. Many employees also chose to carpool.
“According to Dom Jordan, the general manager of BASIS, other organizations may have given up hope and deemed the problem impossible to overcome due to infrastructure limitations. However, Edgbaston took action by implementing a series of projects and forming partnerships to address the issue.”
Carrington was overjoyed. “It can be quite challenging to make changes, especially when it comes to our scope three emissions, which include indirect emissions from sources like purchased goods and services, travel, and waste, in addition to electricity, heat, and steam. This is a major issue that requires our full attention. Many individuals choose to drive because it’s convenient, but we recognize the need to collaborate with travel providers to ensure there are equally convenient options available. For instance, we want to make sure there are enough trains running after an evening T20 game. A large part of this is simply habit, and people may not realize the impact that small actions can have.”
The official results of the carbon emissions reduced, collected by Net Zero Now, have not been released yet. However, a comparable public transportation initiative organized by Real Betis football club for their match against Athletic Bilbao is estimated to have saved 911 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Edgbaston has received positive feedback from both fans and staff, which is crucial. They have plans to implement various initiatives in the upcoming season. Effective communication is key in this process, as they aim to inform spectators about the reasons for changes and ways in which they can contribute. This includes increased signage to guide people from the station, promoting vegetarian options in hospitality areas, and encouraging proper recycling practices.
This is a crucial and admirable undertaking, but it is not without its challenges. Similar to the contentious partnership between Lord’s and JP Morgan, one of Edgbaston’s associates, Drax, is currently under scrutiny from the energy regulatory board for the sustainability of the biomass utilized at its power facility. In the meantime, Carrington is anticipating a feasibility report regarding the installation of solar panels on the Hollies Stand, which would “green up” the loudest area of English cricket.