When the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium finally opened in April 2019, it staked its claim as one of the best in the world, a claim that has certainly been verified in the year since. With a capacity of almost 63,000 (an increase of 26,500 on their previous home White Hart Lane), and the venue intended to play host to NFL games and concerts as well as the expected football fixtures, the ground is certainly maximising its usage.
But more than just capability or profit, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was also designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The environment was a clear consideration in the planning of the stadium and a policy consciously adopted throughout the club too. Spurs’ website lists recycling waste products, reducing single-use plastics, using locally sourced ingredients and promoting alternative transport for fans as their core policies. On the last point, club data shows they are close to their target of no more than 23% of supporters – around 14,250 people traveling to the stadium by private car, which would be a vast reduction from the average of 62.5% of supporters who travelled to White Hart Lane by private car.
Wicks Manor Farm… supplies pork whilst waste from the stadium’s own microbrewery is returned to feed the pigs
Inside the stadium, the mission to reduce plastic usage is demonstrated through the use of reusable beer cups as well as having no plastic straws or cutlery provided with food and drinks. Meal options include a broader plant-based menu, and there is a close relationship with more local businesses. Wicks Manor Farm is 50 miles away from the ground and supplies pork whilst waste from the stadium’s own microbrewery is returned to feed the pigs.
The innovative nature of the construction has led to a carbon dioxide emission 50% less than a ground built 10 years ago
Such choices may seem small, but when you consider the vast numbers of people (normally) visiting the stadium, they have a big impact. From the small to the big, the innovative nature of the construction has led to a carbon dioxide emission 50% less than a ground built 10 years ago. Everything from water usage to the energy efficiency of the materials and lighting has been consciously chosen for their environmental impact. Solar panels adorn the training centre, which has been built to encourage an ecological habitat. Over 300 new and semi-mature trees and thousands of plants and flowers have been planted there in an effort to offset the building’s carbon footprint.
For all their efforts, the club have been acknowledged. Sustainability is one Premier League table they do find themselves top of, the rankings for which are determined by factors including efficiency in energy and water, plastics and transport. Spurs have also signed up to the UN’s ‘Sports for Climate Action’ Framework, which calls on organisations in sports industries to reduce their environmental impact and educate and advocate for greater responsibility and action. Other signatories include the International Olympic Committee, Sky Sports and FIFA & UEFA.
The detail in which Spurs’ website relays their efforts to become a more environmentally friendly operation across the board is a reflection of pride in their work and the seriousness to which they take it. It is clear that the environment was influential in construction of their new ground, and as the impressiveness of the stadium raises the platform of the club on the world stage, such attention highlights the environmental factors alongside it. One of the best stadiums in the world is also one of the greenest, going forward, as clubs such as Everton begin new construction projects of their own, Tottenham have certainly set the standard of the role sport can play in building a more environmentally friendly stage.
This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
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