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Businessman becomes United Nations' ambassador

A high-profile Gloucestershire businessman has been awarded an official role with the United Nations.

The founding father of one of Stroud's biggest private employers, 'green' electricity company Ecotricity, will play "a leading role" in a new initiative aimed at engaging the world of sport in the fight against climate change.

Not backward in coming forward on anything concerning climate change, Dale Vince has also put his money where his mouth is when it comes to his love of the beautiful game. He owns Nailsworth-based Forest Green Rovers FC.

Now Mr Vince, 57, will wear the hat of Climate Champion for the recently launched UN 'Sports for Climate Action' initiative - which aims to bring sporting bodies and clubs and supporters around the world together to fight climate change.

Mr Vince, chairman of Forest Green Rovers, said: "There are billions of sports fans - all of them passionate people.

"We share the same view as the UN that by engaging sports around the world in the issues of sustainability, we can get supporters involved in the fight against climate change - by making them fans of the environment.

"Sport has such a big influence on the way people think and act, it's a powerful platform that can be used to address the most urgent issue of our time - climate change. This new UN framework can help bring about change."

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: "Dale has demonstrated a genuine commitment to communicating strong and clear messages about the importance of raising awareness and empowering citizens to act on climate change."

Forest Green FC became the world's first carbon neutral sports club earlier this season, as part of a new United Nations initiative.

As well as being labelled the "world's greenest football club" by FIFA - FGR also collected a UN Award for its role in tackling climate change.

Its sustainability initiatives span the three major areas of our everybody's carbon footprint - energy, transport and food.

The club is famously vegan - serving plant-based food to its players and fans. It also plays on an organic football pitch, with the stadium powered entirely by green energy from the wind and the sun, and it also has electric car charging points for fans.

Mr Vince will visit UEFA in Switzerland in May - talking to its 55 member nations about FGR's work and raising awareness of the new UN initiative.

In its own words the UN is "The United Nations is a global organization that brings together its member states to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action in an enduring quest for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainably developing world".

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