Green cricket game cuts CO2 by more than a third

Carbon emissions were cut by more than a third at Edgbaston’s first sustainable international cricket match.

Edgbaston’s Go Green Game saw changes made to the match day operation for the England and New Zealand IT20 on 3 September, supported by partners National Express West Midlands and Drax.

National Express West Midlands provided free bus travel to and from the stadium for ticket holders, while the game was powered exclusively by wind, hydro and solar energy sourced by Drax.

A final report into the impact of the game has found it emitted 33.7% less carbon than the initial forecast which was based on a comparable major match day in 2022.

More than 3,600 fans arrived on a free shuttle bus service from New Street station – with around 2,400 on the return leg – while almost 1,000 fans travelled for free on other National Express West Midlands services.

Grounds staff used electric mowers and rollers, food packaging was made from compostable seaweed, and 5,000 four and six cards handed out were printed on seed paper that fans were encouraged to take home and plant to grow wildflowers.

No red meat was served in hospitality areas and spectators also played their part by signing up for stints on the pitch-side energy bikes which, when pedalled, charged up Edgbaston’s electric road sweeper.

The forecast, reduction planning and reconciliation report were carried out by climate action specialists Net Zero Now.

Edgbaston sustainability manager Lydia Carrington, said: “We set ourselves a target of 25 per cent so to cut emissions by more than a third is really encouraging.

“The report takes into account everything from spectator travel, to food, drink and merchandise bought, pitch maintenance and energy usage immediately before, during and after the game.

“We will be taking the learning from the Go Green Game and looking to implement more sustainable processes into our match day delivery both for international and domestic cricket”.

Employees, contractors and spectators were also encouraged, where possible, to use active travel options or public transport.

Simon Heppner, Net Zero Now founder, said: “Edgbaston has set ambitious targets to achieve Net Zero by 2030, in line with Birmingham City Council’s 2019 commitment.

“A major objective of the Go Green Game was to gain a deeper understanding of the ground’s climate impact and key emissions sources and testing some priority plans to reduce these emissions.

“The program was a success in its achievement of emissions reductions beyond the target 25 per cent and represents a significant step forward in climate impact management at sports venues.

“By reporting transparently on the process, it is hoped the Go Green Game can stimulate a discussion about development of a consistent sector methodology and encourage greater sector engagement and accelerated action.”