Sustainability is top of the agenda

Dave Frenchin Technical

Sport's role in helping tackle the climate crisis came under scrutiny following COP26 in Glasgow at the end of last year. Now, as part of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, which brings together sports organisations from all over the world to achieve climate change goals, all UK clubs are being asked to reduce their carbon footprint - targeting a fifty percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2040. Dave French, sales manager for Reesink e-Vehicles, looks at how the distributor can help clubs achieve a better future for football.

Tottenham Hotspur FC has invested in a total of 19 all-electric vehicles from STAR EV, the brand distributed by Reesink e-Vehicles in the UK

With every aspect being strictly monitored (homes for bats, on-site allotments and recycled kits are just some of the ways Premier League clubs are continuing to improve their 'green' credentials), it's a move supported by a sustainability table (devised by BBC Sport and the United Nations-backed Sport Positive Summit) and the recruitment of a 'Head of Sustainability' - a first-of-its-kind position in the world of football in February.

Three of the 11 categories in the sustainability table - clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport - are related to the long-range battery transport solutions Reesink e-Vehicles provides for its customers.

Travel can account for up to 90 percent of a club's overall carbon footprint, meaning that turning attention to sustainable transport is key to making a difference. Encompassing how players and fans travel from city to city and country to country is a significant challenge; what is not, however, is how groundskeeping teams and players move around their own clubs.

Electric work machines, utility vehicles and golf buggies are an easy way to tick the three boxes in the sustainability table - and the electric versions of these machines more than meet up to their diesel counterparts; as Darren Baldwin, Head of Playing Surfaces and Estates at Tottenham Hotspur, the only club in the Premier League to have a sustainable transport policy, says: "It's not rocket science, but it's not always done right." Well, as Darren can attest to, that's where STAR EV's range of lithium-ion phosphate battery-powered vehicles differ.

Left: STAR's Sirius 2+2 four-seater people carrier is being used to help transport staff and host VIP tours Right: Branding can be added

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in North London is a proud member of the UN Race to Zero, committing to halve its carbon emissions by 2030 and become net zero carbon by 2040. It has topped the Premier League sustainability table, produced by the UN-backed Sport Positive and published by BBC Sport, for three years running and Darren was looking for a brand that could aid his grounds team of 45 in continuing its journey to carbon neutrality.

The club needed an alternative form of transport for staff and VIPs around the Training Centre, with a reduced impact on the environment. Having already invested in electric options for tending the pitches, what they needed next was an electric solution that encompassed golf buggies, people carriers, utility vehicles and ambulances.

Darren and the management team wanted a brand that could rival the highly productive 'mules' in the utility vehicles category that are petrol and diesel without sacrificing on performance, and able to take on the 80-acre site and a wide range of jobs. They had concerns about battery power and the range it could provide, as they needed a reliable as well as efficient transport solution.

First, Tottenham did a great deal of research into the right partner to work with. And when they heard Reesink UK, with whom they maintain a successful relationship for its turfcare machinery, had a new e-Vehicles division focusing solely on electric utility vehicles, they trusted them with delivering the Training Centre with the best possible solution for an all-electric fleet.

The ambulance gurney, seen here, is applauded for how it slides on and off and locks in securely with just two clicks of the handle.

Tottenham Hotspur acquired 15 Capella Work Machines utility vehicles to load various materials and aid in housekeeping and maintenance duties, three all-electric ambulances (two Capella CP-4 and an AP48-4) to assist the medical teams, as well as a Sirius 2+2 four-seater people carrier to help transport staff and host VIP tours - a total of 19 all-electric vehicles from STAR EV, the brand distributed by Reesink e-Vehicles in the UK.

The grounds team now fulfils its many day-to-day tasks knowing the work is done quickly and efficiently, whilst also helping the club reach its sustainability goals by using only all-electric power. They provide a quiet and smooth ride, are easy, quick and comfortable to use and produce no fumes. And with a range of up to 75 miles, a day's work is never interrupted.

The team has found charging is both easy and reliable: there is no need for any expensive infrastructure as they can be used with any regular socket and topped up when needed, and there are clear controls to show what charge is left so that the buggies never run out of power and are ready to be used at a moment's notice.

The role of sustainability in the management of sports recreation and leisure facilities can help drive down running costs and make a real contribution in the battle against climate change.

"They are market-leading when it comes to towing capacity, and the amount of payload they can handle competes with all the others we've ever used." Darren Baldwin Right: Dave French

The training facilities and stadium may make up a small proportion of the overall travel requirement of a club; but the suitability of electric utility and passenger transport in these environments is unprecedented. The noise reduction is markable, and the complete elimination of emissions has to be an advantage to any top level club. As all sectors of all business strive to reduce their carbon footprint, it's not always easy to know where to start. But as any football manager will say, 'there is no such thing as an easy win'. I beg to differ when it comes to swapping from petrol or diesel to electric utility vehicles at the training ground and stadium: it's an easy win for all.

Travel will always be a part of professional football, but by taking concrete steps towards sustainable mobility, the game can continue to please audiences around the globe with a much reduced footprint. It only takes a bit of commitment - from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur - and innovation - from the likes of STAR EV - to make a big change.

To talk to Reesink about the STAR EV range,
call 01480 226800 or go online