Edgbaston’s green energy ambition
Edgbaston has a long-term vision to be the most sustainable cricket venue in the country. Central to this plan is reducing energy usage and the carbon footprint of matchdays.
“We like lofty ambitions at Edgbaston, and our biggest one is to try to be the most sustainable cricket stadium in the UK,” says Craig Flindall, the Chief Operating Officer of Warwickshire CCC. “We’ve always tried new things here but now we want to be a pioneer for sustainability in UK sport. Environmental sustainability has also become one of the business imperatives of our new strategic plan.”
Edgbaston operate several sustainability projects and systems to support this ambition including:
- Electricity from renewable sources
- Reduce energy use
- Eliminate single-use plastic
- Increase recycling and minimise waste
Partnering to reduce carbon footprint
“Electricity is a cost to the environment and our business,” explains Flindall. “Our electricity contract is one of our single biggest supplier contracts and our electricity bill is £500,000 a year. If we can lower the amount of the footprint, we can also reduce our electricity bill.”
In 2018, Edgbaston took a strategic business decision that made 100% of their energy renewable and later that year they signed a deal with Haven Power, who supply the venue from the biomass Drax plant in Selby, North Yorkshire.
Warwickshire have also been working with an energy broker called Amber Energy to identify costs and invest in savings.
Reducing the footprint of suppliers and fans
While energy presents Edgbaston with its biggest opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint, they have also reduced usage across other areas of the business, including their supply chain for stadium food and beverage.
The club’s beer contracts are with Midlands suppliers and the food concession area is a local organic farm based in Shropshire meaning that 99% of food is prepared on-site. “All our chefs are local too, because again we want to impact the footprint our staff have too,” adds Flindall.
Transportation is even more crucial when it concerns thousands of spectators descending on Edgbaston. Flindall and his matchday operations team are trying to ensure fewer fans travel to the ground by car.
“Because we’re located away from the city centre, and we don’t have a big train or tram station nearby, a lot of people are used to getting here by car,” he says. “With our transport partners West Midlands trains and National Express we’re trying to run more shuttle bus services from the major train hubs. We also want to discourage people from using their cars by putting up the price of matchday parking.”
Putting their shirt on sustainability
In 2020, the Bears broke new ground by launching a kit deal with PlayerLayer, which meant two of the club’s three playing kits were made from a more sustainable material derived from bamboo.
In a first for professional cricket, the material used in the shirts and sweaters worn by Warwickshire in the Royal London Cup and by Birmingham Bears in the Vitality Blast contained a 50 per cent bamboo charcoal mix with polyester.