Villa Park has remained a very special sporting arena from the day the club moved here nearly 116 years ago.
And from Sunday, this famous venue assumes even greater significance as it officially becomes a carbon-neutral stadium.
The plan is to cut energy use, reduce waste and minimise greenhouse gas emissions in the stadium.
The positive steps being taken towards ever-greater sustainability will not only pay for themselves but will release additional funds to power our ambitions.
Working in partnership with Clearway Sustainability Resources, the club has identified its carbon emissions and offset them completely with carbon credits purchased from renewable energy projects around the world.
As a result, we have now achieved full carbon neutrality, an achievement recognised by the award of Clearway's Carbon Neutral Certification.
"We take issues around environmental sustainability and our responsibilities very seriously," says Villa's chief executive Paul Faulkner.
"Over the years we have engaged in a number of activities to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the environment around us.
"We are delighted to partner with Clearway and for our iconic home, Villa Park, to become a carbon neutral stadium."
"It's a privilege to be working with Aston Villa and to help them achieve their low carbon objectives" said Matthew Sullivan, Clearway's chief executive.
"Our unique systems delivered the sourcing, management, settlement and retirement infrastructure that enabled Villa Park to use global carbon funding mechanisms to demonstrate their clear commitment to the environment."
Here's an outline of some of the club initiatives that have made a major impact on our environmental performance:
- We operate a comprehensive waste management programme, and are currently recycling 70 per cent of waste.
- We engage in responsible printing, with 98 per cent of our printed materials produced by a member of the Forest Stewardship Council.
- Our electricity consumption has been decreasing for the past nine years, with heating, lighting and electrical equipment remotely controlled.
- Up to 85 per cent of our food is sourced from the five counties surrounding the West Midlands, helping us to win the Green Restaurant Award (Purchasing) last year.
- We have a structured travel plan, aimed at significantly reducing the number of cars visiting Villa Park.
- Water-saving taps have meant our water consumption has fallen over the past three years.
We are proud of what we have achieved so far, but the work goes on.
Together with Clearway we plan to enhance our sustainability and improve our efficiency still further.
With the support of fans, staff, sponsors and the wider community, those plans can be put into effective action.
Commercial pressures, customer preferences and corporate ethics all point in the same direction: towards attaining carbon neutrality and reporting sustainability initiatives.
Clearway cuts through the complexities and confusions of carbon management, enabling companies, institutions and individuals to take prompt and effective action towards carbon neutrality and sustainable operations.
Whatever the size and sector of your business, wherever you are on your journey towards full sustainability, we have the services you need to add value to your environmental initiatives, improve your profitability and build your brand.
Find out more at www.clearwaycsr.com.