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The Melbourne Cricket Ground is known globally as the MCG and locally as the 'G' and it is recognised as one of the world’s most sustainable sporting arenas.

Fast facts

  • The Melbourne Cricket Ground is known globally as the MCG and locally as the ’G
  • It’s Australia’s largest sporting ground (the world’s largest cricket ground) with a ‘hallowed turf’ of 171 metres (561 ft.) x 146 metres (479 ft.)
  • Capacity is 100,024 for AFL matches, but crowds of more than 124,000 have been recorded.
  • The home of Australian Rules Football, the birthplace of Test Cricket in Australia and host to the 1956 Olympics, Commonwealth Games 2006 and concerts from Sir Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones to Peking Duk and Ed Sheeran
  • One of the world’s most sustainable sporting arenas

Introduction

It was less than 20 years after Melbourne was settled by Europeans that the sportsground that would become the shrine of Australian sport was created. Managed by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the leading sports and events stadium in Australia. Its sheer size, program of sporting events, functions, large scale concerts and the up to 100,000 fans who attend the ground on match day to watch their heroes means that sustainable practices are a key focus.

The MCC is a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Initiative.

Sustaining history

Beyond Australia’s prowess in international sport, the MCG has a 170 year history that encompasses First Nation history for thousands upon thousands of years on the lands known as Yarra Park, and the site of a military village for more than 200,000 US marines and Australian air force personnel during the Second World War. While sporting history is what immediately comes to mind, the MCG celebrates the history of the Australians – indigenous and international communities – that make up Melbourne’s community today.  

Sustaining culture

The MCG acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the traditional owners of the land where the main MCC office is based and where the MCG and Australian Sports Museum is located. Established on the meeting grounds of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin nation, where celebrations, initiations and sacred ceremonies were held for thousands of years before European settlement, the unique value of First Nations culture is recognised with a Reconciliation Action Plan. Its launch was celebrated with an artwork of a giant fingerprint signifying the unique culture by artist Mandy Nicholson, a Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illum wurrung woman. The artwork was branded in the turf.

Sustaining the love of the game

Australia is known for its love of all things sport. Our sporting heroes reach the pinnacle of respect and great moments of match rivalry between local and international teams are recounted for lifetimes. The Australian Sports Museum at the MCG celebrates and sustains Australia’s sporting history with the largest collection of sporting memorabilia in the country. Covering all sports interactive displays replay great moments delivered by sporting greats and holograms of modern heroes.

Homage to legends past is all around the stadium, the avenue and parade of champions holds statues of Olympians such as Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland, cricketers Don Bradman, Dennis Lillee and Shane Warne and footballers Ron Barassi and Leigh Mathews to name but a few.

The naming of the stands, most recently the Great Southern Stand was renamed in the country’s beloved memory of Shane Warne while the Western Standard has been named after the only cricketing batsman to twice score 400 runs, Bill Ponsford through two constructions.

The sustainable stadium

A large-scale stadium drawing more than 3.5 million fans for 52 weeks of the year is bound to have environmental impact. With concern for the environment high on the agenda, the MCC management actively manages waste, water and energy use and have done so for several years now. They reach beyond the stadium’s boundary to encourage staff, contractors, suppliers and stakeholders to adopt sustainable, environmentally safe business practices.

Greening the stadium

Initiatives in energy have been on the management program for more than 10 years. The MCG stays at the forefront of energy efficiency. A recent LED upgrade to the iconic MCG light towers and infill lighting has resulted in a 50% reduction in electricity consumption. There has also been new air cooling systems installed reducing emissions a further 20 per cent than already reduced levels. In 2022, the MCG became the first major stadium in Australia to run on 100 percent renewable power.

Greening the parklands

Since 2012, the MCG’s groundbreaking underground water recycling plant has produced more than 180 million litres of recycled water annually from waste water pumped in from the stadium, nearby homes and hospitals and The Hilton Hotel. Making the most of nature’s elements, the rainwater harvested from the roof of the northern stand is used to clean the stadium. As a result, potable water usage has decreased 50 per cent and these initiatives feed the 32 hectare heritage listed parklands which in turn supports local wildlife, recreation and culturally sacred land.

Kicking goals in waste management

With a range of food and beverage outlets onsite to feed the crowds, the MCG has banned the following single use plastic items: Drinking straws, Cutlery, Plates, Drink stirrers, Cotton bud sticks, Expanded polystyrene food service items, Expanded polystyrene drink containers.

Water refilling stations are located throughout the venue, and with the use of an organic recycling plant 78 percent of all organic waste is diverted from landfill by converting catering waste to soil food, which is used on the gardens of Yarra Park. 

Greening transport

Public transport links have always been an option for getting to the MCG. Trains and trams stop in walking distance. Driving sustainability further, planning includes limiting the car parking area so that public transport is the option of choice, with increased bicycle storage for staff and the public on the agenda.

Sustainable goals

The MCC has set a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and will continue to contribute to a sustainable future and continue to be a leader in sport.

The MCC’s Sustainability Plan 2022 -2025 includes more greening: planting more trees, assessing feasibility for a produce garden, more solar powered lighting, more sustainability KPI measurement in contractor procurement to ensure contractors support the MCC’s goals, and greater community involvement and engagement through social media. With the initiatives put in place over the past decade and a plan for net zero emissions by 2040, the MCG is one of the world’s most sustainable sporting arenas.

Tours

While the MCG aims to develop sustainability focussed tours at the stadium, visitors can explore behind the scenes of this iconic sporting attraction on a guided MCG Tour and explore the Australian Sports Museum. Or do both on aPremium Access Tour.

Sustainability Recognition

Green Sports Alliance (USA) – Innovator of the year I Melbourne Awards – Contribution to sustainability I Waste Management Review Magazine – Featured in Sustainability in Business I Stadium Business and Design (UK) – Winners in the Category for Sustainability I Facility Management Association – Winner for the Environment and Sustainable Impact Award

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