On the morning of the 29th, Morten and the WPG team met a very tired, yet very enthusiastic VP of the EU Commission and chief of the EU Green deal, Frans Timmermans. Our trip to the EU Commission was well-timed as the night before our meeting, the EU agreed on a new climate proposal set to reduce net emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.
Having both a passion for the environment and football, Morten and Mr. Timmermans had much to discuss; however, the main topic of discussion was “how can we help each other”.
According to Mr. Timmermans, the EU is going to heavily focus its efforts on approaching the current textile system in the EU. Therefore naturally, our Green Bag initiative caught his eye.
As an AS Roma fan, it was clear Timmermans understands the importance of wearing a proper kit as a player and as a fan; however, in our meeting, he was reminded of the sheer over-production and over-consumption of such garments that present a threat of utmost importance to the planet.
“At the end of every season, most clubs send their excess gear to charities that take them 3rd world countries such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia”, explained Thorsby. He added “While that in itself is great, the garments still end up piled in landfills as there is no system to properly dispose of, of recycling these garments. We just move the problem outside of Europe, but it is catching up to everyone”.
On top of sheer overproduction and consumption of football garments, the textiles used to make sportswear garments, in general, are made out of synthetic, fossil fuel-based materials that make them impossible to recycle. In fact, Timmermans was surprised to hear that the sponsor logos and numbers pained on potentially “cyclable” garments render them “un-cyclable”
This conversation was quite relevant as part of the EU sustainability strategy for 2030 is to enforce the EU market to use durable and recyclable, textiles made of recycled fibers, free of hazardous substances and produced in an environmentally friendly way while respecting social rights”
It is safe to say that this meeting highlighted the many overlappings between the football world and the world of European politics. “Both We Play Green and the European Union have some concrete projects, We Play Green can be the middle man between major entities such as yourself, and the football grassroots that are necessary to reach” expressed Morten.
Thankfully, along with much enthusiasm for both our Green Bag project and number two community, Mr. Timmermans and WPG understood the ways they can help each other out.