In early February, the ‘Taskforce for the future of professional football’ drew up 17 recommendations for action for the 36 professional clubs across Germany’s two top leagues, in order to provide a holistic concept for the future of professional football in the country. First and foremost, the German Football League (DFL), who are in charge of this project, called for the basic recognition of sustainability in German professional football, with the second priority being the establishment of a committee for sustainability and responsibility.
Certain Bundesliga clubs already have a solid basis on which to work, in environmental terms at least, as demonstrated by the first ever Bundesliga Sustainability Table 2021 put together by Sport Positive Leagues. And as is the case out on the pitch, Eintracht Frankfurt were again among the top teams.
|Reduction and phasing out of single-use plastics||2|
|Plant-based and low-carbon food products||2|
|Communications and commitment||2|
Green is the keyword, with Sport Positive Leagues systematically gathering information primarily on the ecologic sustainability of football clubs. This is done based on a matrix which takes numerous parameters into account. The categories reflect the environmental footprint of each club and rank the measures they have implemented in the form of a table. The research process included constant discussions with the clubs.
From this perspective, Frankfurt finished in the same spot as they did this season in the Bundesliga, namely fifth place.
Eintracht scored points in the following areas
The club uses naturally-sourced power from 100 percent wind and hydro energy, with Mainova AG the provider for the entire Deutsche Bank Park complex, the training grounds and ProfiCamp that is currently under construction. Mainova AG, who are the largest energy providers in the Hessen region and premium partners of Eintracht Frankfurt, supply the stadium with green power from hydro, “KlimaPlus” natural gas and water.
In 2012, Eintracht Frankfurt achieved certification for BREEAM – an evaluation system for the ecological and socio-cultural aspects of the sustainability of buildings. The recertification process will take place soon. For the ventilation of the fan shop, a heat exchanger was installed with a frequency converter, while elements of the permanent lighting were switched over to LED lamps.
Eintracht Frankfurt offer a real incentive to fans to use public transport by means of free travel tickets, and a survey carried out by the club showed that over 60 percent of fans use public transport. A climate-neutral tram using green power transports fans to home games.
Eintracht Frankfurt have got rid of all single-use plastics at the club’s locations, as well as introducing a reusable drink cup system at the Deutsche Bank Park.
A large part of the rubbish is processed onwards. The stadium caterers, for example, separate waste food and non-recycled foodstuffs from the kitchen and kiosk areas and the waste is divided up into various types. All of the following basic materials are recycled: glass, paper and cardboard, plastic, turf and plant waste, metal, batteries, oil, lubricants, lamps, coatings and colourings.
All toilets and urinals are flushed using rainwater, water volume limiters and water stop buttons. Other initiatives include time-controlled taps and electrical mixing taps on the wash basins that are controlled by photoelectric sensors. Then there is the optimisation and focusing of the wet cleaning cycles based on usage and events. As part of the Arena of IoT digital centre, innovative solutions for smart irrigation are being developed in conjunction with partners, thus significantly reducing water requirements.
Since Supreme Sports Hospitality took over responsibility for catering at the beginning of the current season, fans have been offered vegetarian and vegan meals. The opening of the new club infrastructures in April also meant that there were vegan choices for all employees in the canteen. Since the service-provider and the food served come from the Rhein-Main region, delivery chains are short and thus environmentally friendly. Furthermore, all future packaging will be bio-degradable.
Ecological responsibility is gaining ever more traction in Frankfurt, not least due to the fact that the sporting and business focus of the club – namely the Deutsche Bank Park and the future offices – will be in the Stadtwald forest district. The club also took part in the Frankfurt Cleanup 2020 operation, with around 200 keen employees and close supporters of the club clearing up all the waste from the area around the stadium.
The recognition from Sport Positive Leagues is further encouragement to continue down the road towards a holistic concept of the future. "Featuring in the top five of such a renowned study is obviously a great snapshot of what we have achieved,” Jan Martin Strasheim, head of media and communications at Eintracht Frankfurt, said of the results. “Nevertheless, we at Eintracht Frankfurt see sustainable behaviour first and foremost as a constantly evolving process. We remain realistic and we know that we still have work to do in this critical area."
Of the measures that have been put forward - and indeed in some cases already implemented - there is the promoting of e-mobility. There are already renovated cycle paths from the city of Frankfurt to the Deutsche Bank Park, and on a related note, additional bike parking facilities are being created. These infrastructure improvements are designed to encourage climate-friendly travel to and from the stadium, for sporting events as well as for daily leisure activities.
Nevertheless, we at Eintracht Frankfurt see sustainable behaviour first and foremost as a constantly evolving process.Jan Martin Strasheim, head of media and communications
“For us, the Deutsche Bank Park is more than just a venue,” Strasheim added. “This historic area is a meeting place for people of all different generations, right in the beating heart and indeed lungs of the city. Responsible behaviour towards our environment really does go without saying.” The soon-to-be-completed ProfiCamp is also targeting emissions reductions and will feature a ceramic building exterior for heat storage and solar panels on the roofs. Those features alone will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) output in the running of the new infrastructure by around 700 tonnes every year.
At the club’s home venue just a few hundred metres away, the floodlights will be fitted with LED lamps in addition to the LED light systems already currently installed, to ensure maximum energy efficiency. The same goes for the irrigation system for the pitch, which uses digital data collection to ensure that no more water is used than is necessary.
Digitisation plays a major role not only here but in general when it comes to Eintracht Frankfurt’s sustainability goals. Sustainability is defined not only as an ecological but also an economic and social approach.
For a football club with the size and structure of a medium-sized business, Strasheim says that this encompasses: “the running of the company, diversity, data protection and the development of a sustainable playing concept”.
Most importantly, Eintracht and the Bundesliga already have a sufficiently collegial approach to the situation, as demonstrated by the creation of the ‘Taskforce for the future of professional football’ and the related targeted workshops. “In all sporting competition, a conscientious approach to the subject of sustainability can have no losers, only winners,” Strasheim said. “We want to be a part of that.”