DMU researchers discover exactly how local football club produces carbon emissions

Researchers from De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) have measured the carbon emissions of an amateur football club providing players and coaches with an invaluable insight into how they can achieve their Net Zero goal.

Nirvana football

Dr Leticia Ozawa-Meida and MSc student Wilfor Zuluaga worked with Leicester Nirvana Football Club, based in Hamilton and representing the Highfields ward of the city, to measure emissions across all its operations, from how its clubhouse uses energy, to how players and their families travel to games.

 The study, believed to be among the first of its kind, forms part of the Net Zero Football Project at DMU. It has created findings that can now form the framework of similar tests at other sports clubs and allow Nirvana to tackle some of its biggest environmental challenges.

Dr Ozawa-Meida, a Senior Research Fellow at DMU, said: “The results of the carbon footprint show that the largest sources of emissions of Leicester Nirvana relate to the travel of players and families to training and matches (74%), followed by the emissions related to energy use, gas and electricity (20%), and in less extent to emissions due to water use, waste generated and procurement of players uniforms (6%).

“By identifying the sources with the largest emissions, technical and behaviour change interventions to achieve net zero can be targeted in a more effective manner. Most importantly we can learn a lot from the data and share this with other clubs worldwide in their approaches towards Net Zero.”

Leicester Nirvana was the founding partner of the Net Zero Football Project at the university after writing to the United Nations Academic Impact Hub (UANI) expressing its ambition to become Britain’s first Net Zero amateur football club.

Becoming one of the first clubs to understand its Scopes 1,2 and 3 emissions tests (the basis for mandatory greenhouse gas reporting) is another accolade for Nirvana which has also partnered with the United Nations Football for the Goals campaign, and won awards for their anti-violence and anti-racism strategies.

Club Trustee and Sustainable Development Goals volunteer, Ivan Liburd said: "This initiative is a pivotal part of our journey towards Net Zero emissions. It underscores our dedication to environmental responsibility and sets a powerful example for our community.

“We are fully committed to this project, as it aligns perfectly with our Net Zero goals. The collaboration has been seamless, and we see it as a significant step towards a sustainable future.

“The success of this project reinforces our belief that we can achieve our Net Zero targets. As we move forward, we plan to expand similar initiatives and continue reducing our carbon footprint." 

*Dr Ozawa-Meida and Ivan will present their work at a free event at Leicester Business Festival on November 15th – called Green Goals.

The event will engage local sport sector businesses, clubs and organisations and connect them to the leading work being developed and delivered through De Montfort University on the Net Zero agenda, as well as a wider peer network and other organisations committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the local sports sector. Tickets available here

Anyone wishing to learn more about the Net Zero Football Project is asked to email:


Posted on Tuesday 14 November 2023

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