MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Displaying the Real Madrid club crest on the first team home shirt … [+]
Real Madrid increased their engagement in environmental matters on Wednesday by joining forces with Meatless Farm, a plant-based food company from the United Kingdom.
The La Liga champions say the new partnership’s objective is to promote sustainable, healthier eating habits around the world through encouraging reduced meat consumption.
It’s not the first time Los Blancos have weighed in on such issues. On May 20, 2020, Real became the only soccer side to participate in the United Nations Global Compact, whose organizations support responsible consumption among other principles.
“We as a global team have an important role to play in engaging with society to make real changes that will help create a more sustainable world and improve personal health and performance,” said Emilio Butragueno, a former Real Madrid striker who is now a director at the club.
Elsewhere in Spain, Real Betis are setting the ecological standard. The Seville-based club became the first Spanish team to commit to the UNFCC’s Climate Neutral Now initiative in March 2019 and launched their Forever Green platform—which neatly complements their traditional colors—in October 2020.
betis fans during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) semi-final first leg football match between … [+]
Yet, the overall commitment of Spanish clubs is disjointed. Most professional teams are environmentally conscious, but—as Betis’ work suggests—independent actions prevail over a blanket set of commitments required by the league or an external regulator.
As for Real’s rivals Barcelona, they have outlined sustainability efforts for the prospective, large-scale Espai Barça complex, but are hardly a long-standing example to follow. The Catalans formed part of the UN’s Global Compact for nine years, but were expelled a decade ago after failing to communicate their progress.
However, Real’s latest commitment represents a step forward for responsible living, according to Ferry Kamp, Meatless Farm’s global head of marketing.
“Working with the biggest sports club in the world will allow us to reach a global audience and make plant-based eating more acceptable for people who still like their meat,” he told me.
“More sports clubs with a large following joining would definitely help accelerate the shift from meat to meatless and create a healthier and more sustainable planet.”
I am a freelance journalist with a specialist interest in soccer in Spain, a country I have lived in and adore. I currently write articles for SUR in English, one of