INTERVIEW: Cat Jebson, Sustainable Clarets
In my last blog, Footballers in the Business of Doing Good by the Planet, I explored how footballers can motivate fans to be more sustainable. This week, I wanted to focus on what some fans are doing to tackle climate change and how they are working with clubs to support more sustainable action. Liam and I spoke to Cat Jebson, the founder of the grassroots group, Sustainable Clarets. A group of Burnley FC fans who are working towards making their club the leader into a greener future on and off the pitch.
Founded in 2021 by lifelong Claret, Cat Jebson, SC (Sustainable Clarets) is a forum for like-minded fans to come together to inspire and promote positive climate action. The group works with Burnley FC representatives to advise on policies, and progress to amplify communications around sustainability: on both a club and fan level.
"Working together has resulted in numerous positive sustainability changes at Burnley FC, including a reusable cups trial in 2021, infrastructure and operational improvements and a renewed focus on sustainability in the clubs programme, on its website and on social media", noted Jebson.
The Sustainable Clarets partnered with Pledgeball to further encourage sustainable fan behaviours and were very proud that Burnley FC finished 14th in last year's Premier League sustainability table, an improvement of six places from the previous year.
"Sustainable Clarets are excited to continue to support sustainable initiatives and changes at Turf Moor, on and off the pitch, in 2022 and beyond, to help create a Greener Turf. As founder of the group, I am very pleased that Sustainable Clarets has become a home for members who care about the environment, climate change and the future, not just at Burnley FC, but of football itself in a changing world", commented Jebson.
Like Cat, I feel that advocating for climate action can be a lonely place and overwhelming when we consider the magnitude of the challenge and the apathy of others. So why not come together and built a network of passionate individuals motivated to drive change?
The Sustainable Clarets have become a platform for fans to come together and talk about climate action, and share their ideas and their invaluable experiences of changing their own workplaces or personal habits. The fan lead group aims to make the environmental challenge seem less daunting and more hopeful.
Jebson also noted, "On a personal level, working with the group has also taught me so much; everything from scopes of emissions to who makes the best vegan pies in Lancashire. It feels empowering to come together as fans and also with passionate representatives from the club who have the influence to change things on the global football stage."
Burnley FC carried out their Clarets View survey which highlighted that 87% of fans wanted the club to improve their waste management and recycling facilities at the club. Whilst, 81% said they want to see a reduction in single reduce plastic, it's clear that Burnley is making waves in sustainability and their fans are at the heart of this transition.
Matt Hargreaves, Facilities Manager at Burnley FC said: “Sustainability is a key area for us and our fans, as awareness of the impact we are making on the planet continues to grow. This was demonstrated through the feedback from the recent Clarets View survey, football clubs have a responsibility to be aware of the environment, and it’s important that we play our part."
Cat Jebson, Founder, Sustainable Clarets added "I share the common view that football has huge potential to inspire change. and is the most exciting, unique platform in the world. Being able to play a small part in the growing "sustainability in football" movement is a very rewarding privilege, and I thank everyone who has helped Sustainable Clarets to this point."
Follow the Sustainable Clarets on Twitter to follow their journey @SustainClarets