Starting in the 2022 season, Vermont Green FC will join USL League 2, the fourth division semi-professional championship in North America. Based in Burlington, this brand new club will be green in name. He is in search of eco-responsibility with a variation on the theme.
Keil Corey carries the title of “chief purpose officer” at Vermont Green. We could translate it by “head of the reason for being” or even “head of vocation”. He is therefore delighted to explain the environmental justice mission of the new team, which will take up residence on the University of Vermont campus.
In everyday life, Corey is a consultant on environmental and social issues for companies. His experience makes him think that the private sector is ready to
do more for people and for the planet. Both at the same time. Social and environmental issues, he stressed in his first conversations with the club’s other founders, are not mutually exclusive. This is where Vermont Green wants to stand out.
The benefits and obligations that flow from our environment are not distributed fairly, he argues. Climate change, for example, tends to disproportionately affect those least responsible for it, those with the smallest carbon footprint. We are talking about low-income communities, black populations, aboriginal people, of color.
” We therefore want this issue to be at the heart of what we do at the club, to become the angle from which we study all our actions. “
In the sports world, Corey notably cites the
formidable example of the Seattle Sounders of the MLS, which became a carbon neutral club in 2019 by calculating its greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce them and by buying carbon credits to offset what cannot be eliminated.
Vermont Green wants to go further. The club is aiming for carbon neutrality, of course. He also wishes to stimulate public debates on the beings who are suffering the effects of climate change and to collaborate with the populations affected in a disproportionate way in order to find possible solutions for
manage the climate crisis. In particular, the club forges links with the refugee populations of Vermont.
All kinds of questions underlie the decisions made within the young organization, from transport to equipment and related products.
After revealing his name and his date of entry into the league, Vermont Green first wanted to launch a first range of products. But the discussions quickly turned to their very legitimacy. Wouldn’t the club, by selling clothes, be dishonest?
The leaders finally made the decision to
do not stay on the sidelines. They found suppliers who claim to be “circular fashion,” a principle that aims to eliminate wasted resources in this sector, whether by reusing clothes or using their materials to make new ones.
If we’re selling stuff, we need to do our checks and be sure what impact our products will have, Corey stresses. We looked for suppliers who have the required certifications and who demonstrate real transparency, and it is difficult. To be completely honest, it is still difficult to find companies that talk about measures relating to the rights of workers, their suppliers, etc.
Beyond its social mission, Vermont Green will need, incidentally, a good soccer team. The platform it represents to spread a message will not be sustainable if it loses year after year.
Keil Corey and his co-founders, Matt Wolff and Patrick Infurna, are already working on it. They expect to introduce their first coach in the coming days, a technician who they hope will lead them to the top of their league.
By the way, who has dominated the English Fourth Division since September?
A clue: the leaders of Vermont Green are in
constant communication with this club, which is a
Forest Green Rovers, of course.