WORCESTER Warriors have become the first professional rugby club in Europe to throw their weight behind the fight to tackle climate change.

Warriors have signed up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action as part of the club’s commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible consumption.

They have joined international and national sports governing bodies including World Rugby, International Olympic Committee, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as European Professional Club Rugby and football giants Arsenal, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain in making the commitment to sustainability and tackling climate change by supporting the UN initiative.

As a signatory to the UN Framework Warriors are part of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, and are committed to reducing Green House Gas emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030 and be net zero by 2040 and publishing an annual emissions report.

The sustainability initiative forms part of Warriors’ Time For Change programme of improvements and developments on an off the pitch at Sixways.

"The threat to our planet posed by global warming is a clear and obvious and there are a number of simple and positive steps that we can take, both individually and collectively, to protect the environment," said Warriors Managing Director Peter Kelly.

"As a club we have already introduced a number of important measures at Sixways to reduce our carbon footprint and improve sustainability. But there is much more that we can and will do. Sustainability and protecting the environment are now at the forefront of many of the decisions we will make as a club and business.

"Our support for the UN Sport for Climate Action demonstrates our commitment to the cause and, as the first Gallagher Premiership club and first professional rugby club in Europe to sign up to the UN Framework, we are proud to be leaders in this field.

"By uniting with other like-minded sports clubs and governing bodies we hope that we can play our part in driving climate awareness and the need to take positive action to protect and care for the planet.

"Caring for our community is a core rugby value and as a proud community club we are committed to taking positive and measurable actions to protect and preserve the environment, locally, nationally and globally, from the damage caused by global warming."

Participants in the UN Sports for Global Climate Action Framework commit to adhere to five key principles:

(a) Principle 1: Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;

(b) Principle 2: Reduce overall climate impact;

(c) Principle 3: Educate for climate action;

(d) Principle 4: Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;

(e) Principle 5: Advocate for climate action through communication.

"The Sports for Climate Action Initiative aims to provide sports organisations with a forum where organisations can pursue climate action in a consistent and mutually supportive fashion by learning from each other, disseminating good practices, lessons learned, developing new tools, and collaborating on areas of mutual interest," said a spokesman for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Among the positive steps already taken at Sixways are changing all office printers to swipe card access to reduce the amount of wasted paper, using returnable cups on matchdays, introducing recycled food trays and retail packaging and using British – local if possible – suppliers.

The playing kit supplied by O’Neills is manufactured in the UK and the club’s move to an electronic Docusign system to replace paperwork has already saved 239kg of wood.

All general waste from Sixways is now used to generate energy rather than be taken to landfill sites, the state-of-the-art floodlights that were installed in 2019 are LED and a programme of making all lights at the stadium sensor LEDs is now underway.

All old IT equipment is now recycled, non-concussive taps have been installed in all toilets at Sixways and the club is also supporting Rugby Recycled, an initiative run by scrum-half Gareth Simpson to provide used rugby kit, boots and equipment to under-privileged children here and in his native South Africa.