Club | 30/09/2020

First Bundesliga club

Climate neutral from 2021: FC earn sustainability certificate

As the first Bundesliga club, 1. FC Köln are certified as “ZNU Standard Nachhaltiger Wirtschaften” (driving sustainable change). With this, the sustainable activities from FC can be measured in the future and also externally audited. For the near future, FC have set three concrete sustainability goals.

Many foundations projects, action Matchdays for good causes, holistic training for young players. In these diverse ways, 1. FC Köln has already been working towards sustainability for the last few years. In the certification process, which lasted a good seven months, the club went through its activities together with the Centre for Sustainable Management (ZNU) at the University of Witten/Herdecke into a coherent and measurable concept. At the end of this process and the thorough test from TÜV Rheinland Cert, the result was that 1. FC Köln became the first sustainably tested professional club.

“We are proud of this certificate, because it shows that 1. FC Köln are taking sustainability seriously,” said FC Vice President Eckhard Sauren. “Social and ecological responsibility is part of our club philosophy. The sustainability of our society and our planet is something that means a lot to us. We want to lead by example here.”

For the successful certification, FC had to demonstrate measurable and convincing performances in the areas of environment, economy and social issues using 44 individual criteria. The club’s usage of water in caring for the pitches to the values in the youth academy were all looked at. A departmental sustainability team of 12 employees at FC worked for more than seven months to achieve the success. The several stage certification process through TÜV included tests at Geißbockheim, the Boarding School and fan shop. The ZNU standard also means that progress in sustainability will be reviewed annually in the future.

FC managing director, Alexander Wehrle said: “For us, the topic of sustainability is not ticked off with the certificate – the opposite. We have deliberately made ourselves measureable. We see it as a commitment to integrate sustainable thinking and action even more strongly into our day-to-day business and to be a role model for others. We want to be the driving force of a movement both in the city of Köln and in the Bundesliga.”

Three goals for the future

For the near future FC have set these three, amongst others, sustainability goals:

  • From 2021, 1. FC Köln will be economically climate neutral. Along with the current use of eco-energy, FC will move all cars to electric and hybrid models.
  • From Autumn, the FC foundation will open up its own food bank for those in need in Sülz. The first of six between then and the end of 2021. These will be in sections of the city which are not currently covered by the Kölner Foodbanks.
  • From the 2022-23 season, the FC kit will be produced from recycled polyester. By 2023, all merchandise supplies will be socially certified. Member cards will be made from recycled material and the first-team autograph cards will be promoted on environmentally friendly paper. 

Axel Kölle, one of the centre heads at ZNU, said: “We are very pleased that 1. FC Köln were the first professional club to introduce a sustainability management system in accordance with our standards, and that an independent body has certified this system. It serves to continuously and systematically develop the numerous approaches - a real showcase project.”

About the certificate

The ZNU-Standard Nachhaltiger Wirtschaften has been developed by the Centre of Sustainable Company Management from the University of Witten/Herdecke. It is the first certifiable standard, which covers all three dimensions of the environment, economy and social. It calls for and promotes an integrated management system for more sustainable economic activity. It also integrates other regulations under one roof and is applicable across industries and internationally.

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