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Batting for net zero

8 September, 2023

Last week’s third T20 international match at Edgbaston was a turning point. Dubbed the ‘Go Green game’, it was a day built on sustainability, the first of its kind in the UK. It showed how cricket can hit climate change for six (even if England couldn’t do the same against New Zealand).   

Edgbaston Stadium teamed up with our friends at Net Zero Now to reimagine the game when prioritising lower climate impact. Following an analysis of the expected business-as-usual carbon footprint of the match, Net Zero Now proposed a list of carbon reduction activities that could be deployed and worked with the team at Edgbaston to put these in place ahead of the game, from improving cycling facilities, reducing parking availability and arranging free bus transfer from the station, to removing red meat from the hospitality menus, improving food waste management and arranging renewable electricity for the stadium. Even the cards waved in the crowd were produced with ‘seed paper’ which, when planted at home, grow wild flowers. 

The result is an expected 200 tons reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a typical match. Edgbaston has also committed to beyond value chain mitigation that will remove emissions equivalent to the total forecast footprint.  

The success at Edgbaston in creating climate conscious cricket shows what’s possible. It is the chance for cricket to set new rules. But beyond the cricket ground, it demonstrates how all stadiums can Go Green. Historically, sports and events have had vast carbon footprints and environmental impacts. Things are changing, as we wrote about before, such as Coldplay’s approach to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the World of the Spheres tour. Such events are a fantastic opportunity to engage spectators in fighting climate change and show what stadium management teams can achieve.  

For similar Go Green events to become a norm it means recognising climate change is a problem for all of us to act on. As Edgbaston’s Operations Director, Claire Daniel, put it “Why wouldn’t we do it? … We want cricket to be around for a really long time and have to make this change.” 

By Alice Railton

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