This week, the United Nations granted “carbon-neutral” certification to English vegan soccer team Forest Green Rovers (FGR), marking the first time the international organization granted the accolade to a professional sports team. The certification indicates that the team’s net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere equals zero, a feat that FGR owner Dale Vince has accomplished through a number of eco-friendly initiatives. In 2015, Vince removed all animal products from the team’s stadium menu and installed solar panels, a chemical-free lawn, and a solar-powered lawn mower. While FGR players are not required to maintain a plant-based diet outside of their professional obligations, many players continue to follow a vegan lifestyle off the field. The stadium’s head chef Jade Crawford revealed that the plant-based menu has made an impact with the fans, as well. “Some people come in and might think, ‘Oh God, vegan food,’” Crawford said. “But then as soon as they try it, they’re like, ‘Actually, it’s quite nice.” In 2016, the stadium received a “Menu of the Year” award and FGR gained English Football League status in May 2017. “Football clubs can influence society to create change,” Vine said. “And to do that, they’ve got to set a good example.”

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