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A Sustainable Club

Munster Sustainability

Thomond Park ©INPHO

The Munster Branch IRFU is acutely aware of its stewardship of the legacy of Munster Rugby and is committed to developing and sustaining the integrity of the brand, in order to create a legacy which can be further developed by future generations.

Munster Rugby facilities include Thomond Park, Musgrave Park and the High Performance Centre in the University of Limerick. Munster Rugby fully recognise that its operations have an impact on the local, national, and global environment.

As a consequence of this, Munster Rugby is committed to:

• A 50% reduction in our Carbon Footprint by 2030 with the club being carbon-zero by 2040.
• Continually improving its environmental performance and the prevention of pollution to reduce our overall climate impact.
• Sign up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action framework and adhere to the Principles outlined.
• Implementing, documenting, and maintaining a process to review, monitor and measure environmental performance and impacts across Munster Rugby.
• Setting targets, collecting data, and implementing actions to ensure Munster Rugby is resource efficient across key areas within its day-to-day operations and on matchdays.
• An independently accredited sustainable working model, which satisfies applicable and legal requirements.
• Communicating this sustainable model to all stakeholders in order to lead, inspire and deliver an exceptional sustainable management system.
• Educate and advocate for climate action through various methods of communication.

Through detailed analysis of its environmental impacts, Munster Rugby has chosen to focus on areas where it can have the greatest influence. The key areas in which Munster Rugby aims to achieve continual environmental improvements are detailed below:

1. Energy Consumption

Across all sites, energy consumption is a key area being assessed on an on-going basis. Regular reviews of current procedures and emerging technologies are carried out to ensure energy consumption is as efficient as possible.

Here’s a little about what we have done so far:

– Replaced the existing floodlighting with LED lighting in both stadia in 2021 & 2022. This project reduced energy consumption and operating costs.
– By working with Pinergy, we moved to green electricity which has led to a significant saving in the volume of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.
– Installation of PIR (Passive Infra-Red) system to enable efficient use lighting throughout all areas in Thomond Park.
– Replacement of all emergency lighting with LED lighting to reduce energy usage in Thomond Park and Musgrave Park.
– Introduction of strict switch off policy for all non-essential machinery, equipment, and systems to reduce overall consumption.
– Implementation of Energy Analytics Software solution including the installation of smart meters to monitor electricity & gas usage to enable informed energy management decision making.

We have further plans in this area such as:

– In conjunction with Pinergy, we are installing Solar panels on the roof of both the West Stand and East Terrace in Musgrave Park. While we also examined this possibility for Thomond Park, the stand roof in Thomond Park cannot take the required load-bearing weight of current solar panels but this will continue to be reviewed as the industry develops and solar panels become lighter.

2. Waste Management & Disposal

Appropriate waste procedures are followed throughout the business and procurement procedures minimise production of waste. Munster Rugby aims to adopt the use of recycled materials whenever it is feasible to do so. Munster Rugby’s waste procedures ensure waste is separated and removed from its sites to minimise negative environmental impacts.

Some of what we have done to date is noted below:

– Our adidas kit is made from 75% recyclable material for season 2021/22. We have a long-term partnership with adidas up to the end of the 2025/26 season. Adidas are world leaders from a sustainability perspective amongst sporting manufacturers with a clear vision as to what is required from a sustainability perspective. Munster Rugby and adidas will work to this shared goal through the alignment of our sustainability strategies.

– We work closely with the regional waste management office to audit our waste and implement waste reduction measures in Thomond Park.

– Introduced training programme for staff on waste streams and proper waste management.

– Work continuously with our catering partners to reduce the amount of waste and packaging that comes into the stadium.

– Designed our own waste segregation bins for usage around the stadium and put the recycling message in match programmes and public address announcements.

– Elimination of all plastic bags with strict policy of using compostable biodegradable bags only.

– Worked with Limerick City & County Council to install waste segregation bins in the vicinity outside the stadium to improve waste management control.

– We have increased our average recycling rate to 90% matchday waste recycling rate with glass, food, cardboard, plastic, paper, metal and grass all being recycled.

– We automated our Accounts Payable system where paper invoices are no longer submitted by suppliers.

The plans currently in progress are as follows:

– Significant reduction in the use of paper whereby staff are encouraged not to print hard copies of documents unless absolutely necessary.

– Paper and plastic cups are not used in our administration offices, with staff only able to use their own non-disposable cups.

– Eliminate the use of single use plastic cups on matchdays.

– Eliminate the use of single use plastic bottles for team training and matches.

3. Water Consumption

Munster Rugby aims to use water as efficiently as possible across its operations. A number of systems have been installed to ensure water consumption is reduced and/or reused and opportunities to further increase overall efficiency through technology and further training are continually monitored.

Here’s what we have done so far:

– Retrofit installation of waterless urinals in all toilets throughout the stadium in Thomond Park.

– Installation of sensor valves on all taps and showers for efficient control of water usage.

– Installation of smart meters to monitor water usage.

– Use of water harvesting tanks in Thomond Park along with the installation of ballcocks on these tanks to control usage.

– Introduction of watering agents on pitch during long dry spells to reduce water usage.

4. Travel

Munster Rugby will endeavour to minimise impacts from travel by reviewing freight and delivery ordering, minimising business travel and encouraging staff to reduce car use by walking, cycling or using public transport. We offer all employees the option to avail of the government Cycle to Work Scheme.

We have a remote working plan in place for applicable employees which has eliminated the need for every staff member to commute to the office every day. We will also become a recognised “Smarter Travel Workplaces Partner” with the National Transport Authority. The stadium’s travel plans are regularly reviewed to ensure safe and efficient public transport to the stadium at all times. We have organise buses to transport supporters to matches from around the province in addition to providing park-and-ride facilities with the local Council.

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