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Reds go green: The Dons take step forward on sustainability journey with net-zero partner

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Following a clear commitment to tackle climate change, Aberdeen Football Club has appointed its first net-zero advisory partner.

Earlier this year the club set a target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030. It joined a United Nations climate action pledge to become carbon neutral by 2040 as it added its signature to the UN Sports for Climate Change framework.

At the time, chairman Dave Cormack hailed the commitment as “only the beginning”.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack said the club has initiatives in place to be more sustainable but “we must go much further”. Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group

He added: “Behind this pledge is the ongoing development of a robust strategy with clear, measurable goals and an implementation plan around every aspect of our activities.

“As a club, we already have initiatives in place to reduce our impact on the environment, but we must go much further.

“With our widespread reach and unique impact, we can show real leadership on combatting climate change.

“Working with our partners, sponsors, corporates, suppliers and fans, we will explore even more ways in which we can make a significant, tangible difference and help drive change in our behaviours.”

Three-year plan to put goals in the net (zero)

Positive Planet, a consultancy which helps organisations achieve their sustainability goals, will work with the club over three seasons to develop a strategy to ensure it can live up to this commitment.

This sustainability strategy will be informed by Aberdeen FC’s current carbon footprint.

Positive Planet will provide an independent measurement of the Dons’ current emissions and then, working closely with all parts of the club, from stadium and football operations, commercial and corporate hospitality through to fan engagement and travel, develop a plan to reduce its impact on the environment.

The plan will comprise short, medium and longer-term goals which will be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative,  a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Positive Planet has agreed to offset the associated costs in exchange for becoming an official club partner with a programme of commensurate benefits.

Stephen Henry, founding partner, Positive Planet said football clubs play an “influential role” in their community.

Positive Planet founder Stephen Henry, said: “As a passionate football supporter, I am very aware of the influential role football clubs can play in the communities they serve.

“I have worked closely with clubs from Premier League teams to grassroots football clubs – successfully helping them to get leaner, cleaner and greener.

“We started Positive Planet with the aim of building the UK’s largest community of responsible businesses and organisations taking actions to reduce their emissions.

“We partner with organisations who can have a broader impact than simply reducing their own emissions and we are delighted to add Aberdeen FC to this community.”

Positive Planet provides solutions for businesses and organisations who are looking to take responsible action to reduce their climate impact.

The consultancy has a suite of business applications which are designed to simplify their pathways to net-zero.

Aberdeen FC director Rob Wicks said the club chose Positive Planet because of its recognition that fans will be “key to our success” in efforts to protect the planet. Photo by Kenny Elrick.

AFC commercial director Rob Wicks added: “Following a competitive tender process, we appointed Positive Planet to carry out this vital work.

“They presented the most compelling proposal which offered the expertise and experience we need. coupled with an attractive, cost-effective way to deliver our goals.

“They recognise that our internal and external stakeholders, including our supporters, will be key to our success and will involve them and, where necessary, give them the skills and understanding to make change that help us all protect the planet.”