Utility company Veolia has become the official ‘Environmental Partner’ of French Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnais and the sleeve sponsor of the club’s title-winning women’s team.
The new will see the two organisations work together in the development of resource conservation, ecodesign, reuse and recycling for the next two year to June 30, 2022.
The brand, however, has not contracted rights to appear on the men’s shirt during European matches as it has since the 2011-12 season. Instead, the Veolia brand will appear on players’ sleeves of the women’s team for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.
According to club, the ‘comprehensive environmental programme’ is one of the first in professional football.
Veolia and Olympique Lyonnais plan to develop a carbon strategy, from assessing the club’s carbon footprint to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
They have also designed and developed a new training t-shirt made entirely of recycled material from the Rhône-Alpes region, which will become part of the range of products offered in the club’s shop starting in the 2020-21 season.
In addition, players on the club’s teams will be given individual water bottles made of Veolia-recycled material that will replace single-use plastic bottles.
Initiatives will include flavoured drinking water at ‘water bars’, games to raise awareness about the environment on the club app and publicity campaigns to encourage spectators to adopt more responsible behaviour on waste sorting and water and energy conservation.
Jean-Michel Aulas, chairman of Olympique Lyonnais, said the club has been particularly sensitive to environmental questions since the new stadium opened in 2016. He said: “It was therefore natural for us to strengthen our ties with Veolia, our long-standing partner, to support our environmental programme.”
In becoming a Major Sponsor of the OL women’s team, six-time European champions and French champions for the last 14 seasons, Veolia will share values of male-female equality and inclusion promoted by the club.
This aspect of the deal will include rights to the newly-named ‘Corporate Employment Centre in partnership with Veolia’ starting from the 2020-21 season.
This flagship project, part of the CSR strategy developed by OL Foundation in partnership with the French national employment office and the non-profit organisation Nes&Cité, aims to ensure equality of employment opportunity.
The players on OL’s men’s and women’s professional teams will support these initiatives through a new awareness campaign to be deployed in June.
The focus on environmental issues and women’s football will end the brand’s 10-year of involvement as a shirt sponsor of the men’s team in European competition.
Olympique Lyonnais signed its first sponsorship agreement with Veolia for two seasons, from 2011-12 to 2012- 2013 in a deal which initially included branding on the front of the players’ shirts during Europa League matches and was broadened to include shirt branding at friendly matches and during the Coupe de la Ligue competition.
The agreement was renewed for three seasons until the end of the 2015- 2016 season to include all European competition, and then for an additional three season, from 2016-17 to 2018-19, on terms similar to the previous contract.
Veolia’s subsequent one-year contract for front-of-shirt branding for the men’s shirts during European competition will expire on 30 June 2020.
The same contract called for the company’s logo to appear on the women’s team shirts during Champions League matches up to the round of 16 during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 season.