Play ball for a sustainable society

How does E.ON encourage several million people to seriously engage with the issue of energy efficiency in their free time, year after year? By choosing a sport that touches practically everyone in Sweden: football. Partnering with SvFF and individual clubs, they’ve chosen to stick their neck out and say it’s possible to make a real difference, every single day and well into the future. Today, the aim is for everyone, from top-flight players and clubs to dedicated local amateurs, to get involved and realise what they can do to improve energy efficiency.

We’d say E.ON’s partnership with SvFF and the clubs has truly made a difference.

Challenge

E.ON has worked with the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) for many years to strengthen its role as an energy partner for Swedish football at all levels, and to contribute to a sustainable society where every bit of energy is put to good use. The challenge for E.ON and SvFF is to get more people engaged in the energy issue as easily as possible. The collaboration takes the long-term approach, with objectives and activities that help to develop relationships with multiple target groups.

Insight

Since 2011, E.ON and SvFF have worked on raising the profile of the energy issue among everyone from those at the very top of the sport right down to a grass-roots, amateur level. More efficient energy consumption makes financial sense, reduces environmental impact and allows clubs to focus on their core business of training and playing football.

So it’s only natural that, after three years of hard work raising the energy issue in football, this has become a fundamental part of E.ON’s communications across all channels in Sweden.

Solution

The main focus was promoting the partnership between E.ON and SvFF and showing how it is helping football become more sustainable – particularly when the sport is so influential in Swedish society.

Energy efficiency brings great benefits over a long period. Investing just one krona today can save many more in years to come. Using money from the Energy Funds, the club projects driving this transformation into a more sustainable sport have resulted in facilities improving their energy efficiency. This is incredibly important, since electricity consumption accounts for around 1/3 of a club’s operating costs. Films and newspaper articles about clubs that the Energy Fund is involved with offer inspiring insights to members and show the benefits.

Both internal and external communication was integrated into the activity of both E.ON and SvFF. As part of the Energy Fund’s four rounds of grants, local media were tipped off about clubs in their region that had received funding for energy projects. Press material was issued jointly and received substantial coverage. The football district and E.ON’s regional managers were also informed about projects in their region. Websites reporting on the progress of the Energy Fund were updated regularly and delivered tips on what other clubs had done to improve energy efficiency.

The month-long nationwide campaign on TV, in print and in digital media brought a greater understanding of the energy issue and significantly increased applications to the Energy Fund. A competition was also organised using social media. The campaign formed an integral part of E.ON’s bigger, year-long focus on energy efficiency.

Outcome

At the end of the year, all 306 of the Energy Fund’s club projects received a certificate confirming that the club has been made more energy-efficient with support from the Energy Fund. Insights into the Energy Fund’s scope, results and project content were also collected in a final report, used to provide feedback to the media and clubs.

The media campaign surrounding the Energy Fund reached over 50% of football fans, which has led to a more positive attitude towards E.ON. They now see E.ON as an environmentally aware company that acts respectfully and responsibly and is warmhearted and considerate. In fact, 8,631,473 visitors experienced the campaign online.

In 2013, 90 club projects received SEK 1.77 million in all (a total of 306 club projects since 2011). The projects have invested as much as SEK 20.2 million in energy efficiency measures at the clubs (a total of SEK 46.8 million since 2011). Since the launch in 2011, 156 articles have been published, all naming the Energy Fund, E.ON and SvFF in the context of positive messages, with a total reach of 8.3 million people. For the first time, the annual Football Gala included recognition of Sweden’s “most energy-smart football club”, something that gained coverage in the local media of the nominees, and in the industry media.