With uniforms made of bamboo and all the players turning down meat, the Forest Green Rovers are not your average soccer team.
In fact, the Rovers, a minor league club in England, are the world’s first vegan, carbon-neutral professional sports team. Owner Dale Vince told CBS News when he bought the team, it wasn’t because he was looking to make it green — he was stepping in because the team was losing money, not winning, and about to fold.
Vince is vegan, and when the team stopped eating meat, too, the players found that their games were improving. “Just faster recovery times, before games pre-match, you feel like you got way more energy,” player Dan Sweeney told CBS News.
The team didn’t stop there. Their stadium is now powered by solar panels and wind turbines and its field is organic, with seaweed used instead of chemical fertilizers. All of the sprinkler water is collected and used again, and when a new stadium is built, it will be made out of wood. The bamboo uniforms are working for now, but next year’s kits will be made of used coffee grounds. All of these changes have worked — not only are the Rovers helping the planet, but they’ve also started winning, CBS News notes, and they are trying to move into a higher division in the English Premier League. Catherine Garcia