Football’s going green, or so they claim – but which teams are the world’s best when it comes to eco-credentials?

Brighton and Hove Albion can be proud of their environmental efforts, appearing fourth in the list of the world's greenest football clubs.

But according to one group of waste and recycling experts, many major football clubs are still failing to act responsibly when it comes to being planet-friendly.

Eco waste collection company, Divert, has looked into the green and not-so-green actions of clubs across the globe.

“From partnerships with airlines, to kits that exploit foreign workers, too many football clubs pay lip-service to being green,” says Divert spokesperson, Mark Hall.

“And we can see the worst offenders right now, as top clubs jet off for long-haul pre-season tours.”

World’s greenest football club

The Argus: Forest Green's Jack Aitchison (left) and Bradford City's Elliot Watt during the Sky Bet League Two match at the Fully Charged New Lawn, Nailsworth. Picture: PAForest Green's Jack Aitchison (left) and Bradford City's Elliot Watt during the Sky Bet League Two match at the Fully Charged New Lawn, Nailsworth. Picture: PA

Topping the list is League Two team Forest Green Rovers.

The Gloucestershire-based side is the first-ever vegan football club and is recognised by both the UN and FIFA as the greenest football team in the world.

Owner Dale Vince, who also owns environmentally friendly energy company Ecotricity, has introduced solar panels at the stadium, a fully organic pitch, and a vegan ethos that bans meat products from the club.

Top six green football clubs

Here’s is Divert’s list of teams topping the eco-credentials league…

1. Forest Green Rovers

Even their green-coloured strip is green, made from recycled plastics and coffee grounds. Hard to beat when it comes to green credentials and a credit to English football.

2. Tottenham Hotspur

A brand-new stadium gave Spurs the chance to start again, with a greener outlook. They’ve popped to the top of the Premier League sustainability chart with a slew of environmental policies.

3. Arsenal

The club processes its waste on-site and has a space-age battery system that makes the most of green energy.

4. Brighton and Hove Albion

Their relatively new out-of-town stadium is where the club does its best to use renewable power, serve locally-sourced refreshments, and slash single-use plastics.

5. Athletic Bilbao

This European club only buys local, including their players - the Basque club only signs players native to the Basque region.

As green credentials go, not signing players from the other side of the planet recalls a long-lost era of local teams for local people.

6. Manchester United

A club this large and this visible needs to be sustainable, and United not only works to improve its green credentials, but the club also goes out of its way to teach fans how to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Hall said: “Most clubs are now publishing their green policies as they realise that tens of thousands of fans descending on the stadium by car, drinking out of plastic cups, and eating meat-based snacks is very ungreen indeed.

“And the Premier League Sustainability table, now in its third year, is not only making those left behind think twice, it’s also educating fans to act more responsibly.”

Clubs heading for eco league relegation

The Argus: Unnecessary air travel is knocking many football clubs' green credentials. Picture: PAUnnecessary air travel is knocking many football clubs' green credentials. Picture: PA

Even the clubs listed above are not entirely innocent but other teams are really scoring an own goal when it comes to their green credentials.

Here are some of the behaviours football clubs should stamp out to improve in the eco league:

Unnecessary Travel

Many clubs claim to be green, but then they jet off to the US or the Far East for lucrative pre-season friendlies that only exist to please sponsors.

If your favourite club does this, consider having a word. Even flying to away matches in the UK should be frowned upon.

Sponsorship deals

Is your club sponsored by a long-haul airline? Does that airline use its sponsorship to greenwash their credentials? If this sounds familiar, get in touch with your club.

Sweatshop replica kits

A decades-long blot on the sports industry. The shirt you’ve bought from the club shop for in excess of sixty pounds could have been manufactured for a fraction of the cost in a cramped, dangerous factory by overworked labourers, some of school age.

Players with massive cars

How can a club claim to be green when the star striker turns up in a fuel-guzzling supercar? Clubs could insist players only appear on club premises if they arrive in a green vehicle.

“Millions of people follow football, and clubs should be setting an example,” says Mark. “They can’t all be like Forest Green, but they can at least try.”

To find out more about how Divert can put your waste to the best possible use, visit the Divert website.