Chelsea Foundation and Nike recently collaborated with sustainability experts, Football For Future, to deliver an educational workshop on the relationship between football and the environment for 100 young Londoners.
Since 2010, Nike has been using recycled polyester to produce football kits. Each year, Nike diverts one billion plastic bottles from landfills and waterways by creating and designing with recycled polyester. Chelsea’s 2021-22 home kit is made with 100 percent recycled polyester fabric.
Hosted at Stamford Bridge, 100 pupils from seven local schools attended the workshop which began with a message from Blues midfielder Mason Mount.
Discussions around topics on the relationship between football and the environment and climate change kicked off the conversation.
The groups of students were given the opportunity to think about environmental issues that affect everyone, the impact on wildlife and what football is doing to start to make real sustainable change. Participants were then asked to focus on what changes they could make as an individual, in their schools and to think about what Chelsea Football Club could also do.
All participants were then set a challenge of a short showreel about why sustainability is important and what they can do to make positive changes. All entrants received a Nike Next Nature Football and the school with the most impressive entry received a ball signed by Mount. The Nike Next Nature Football is a proof-of-concept skills ball made entirely from recycled materials.
Chelsea FC Foundation head of education and innovation, Sam Gaskin-Kemp, said: ‘I think football is a really powerful vehicle to engage young people, with such a current and important topic as climate change.
‘This is a really good way to get them involved, really switch the lights on. They can relate. They can understand. They can see what’s happening on the pitch. They can think about their favourite players in the shirts, the kits that they might actually buy. Thinking about the recycled bottles that might go into making that shirt. Looking at football and thinking of the future.’
Football for Future founding director Elliot Arthur-Worsop added: ‘We delivered a workshop at Stamford Bridge to 100 young Londoners to kick off this really important conversation on sustainability and the beautiful game. It was a really high energy workshop, and the kids were really engaged, and we all had a lot of fun.’
Lucy Marsh, assistant principal at Stationers' Crown Woods Academy, added: ‘I wanted to say how much our students enjoyed the day. For some of them this was an experience they would never normally have the chance for.
‘They were absolutely buzzing on their return to school! Thank you for giving them that opportunity.’