Renewable energy to nourish impressive football association
Having swatted-up in anticipation of our visit to deliver a workshop to the Macedonian (FYROM) football association, my colleague reeled off several ‘good-to-know’ facts about the country as we sat waiting to be picked up by our contact.
One of her ‘findings’ was that it receives 64.5% of its electricity from fossil fuels, 33% from hydroelectric plants, and 2.6% from other renewable sources. This, together with preconceptions based on recent experiences, led to my embarrassing over-reaction to the news that the FA plans to be fully reliant upon its own sources of renewable energy next season.
Next to the jaw-dropping (mine!) news that they will install photovoltaic panels in their training ground – which, combined with an existing geothermal heat pump, will meet their electricity and water heating needs for their training ground and new hotel for academy players and visitors – they also have longer term plans to fit motion-sensor light switches in all buildings and LED floodlights around their training pitches.
Naturally, they’ve carried out a detailed assessment report – after it was agreed that the project fit the organisation’s strategy (in preparation for which, a week of focus groups with stakeholders was conducted) – which the FA’s General Secretary, Filip Popovski, was able to inform us that the investment will be paid off in five to seven years depending on how much excess electricity the state buys back from them.
The cherry on the cake is that they’ve realised that they can use ring-fenced funding from national and international partners to cover the costs of the project, meaning that it actually starts paying off from day one. A clear win-win for the FA and the planet.
And the staff at the FA went on impressing us throughout the workshop. They certainly had clarity when it came to discussing which issues and stakeholders were most relevant to get their CSR strategy underway.
With UEFA having raised the profile of CSR across European national football associations this season, through its HatTrick development programme, I for one cannot wait to experience many more jaw-dropping moments as we visit other FAs in the months to come.
Blog post by Daniel Cade, Senior Consultant at Schwery Consulting