To their army of fans, they are heroes on the pitch, But Saints players are becoming heroes off the pitch by helping to save the planet.

The premiership club is at the frontline of a very different growth sector, scoring big dividends for the economy by pledging to plant 250 trees for every academy player who makes their first team debut.

Through its new Home-Grown initiative, the club has said it will plant a minimum of 3,000 trees in Southampton and the wider region over the next four years.

It is combining its commitment to environmental sustainability – offsetting more than 3,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the next four years – with its strategy of developing world class talent on the pitch.

The Home Grown Initiative is part of Southampton’s newly launched sustainability strategy, The Halo Effect, coming under the club’s environmental responsibilities.

Dan Nlundulu, pictured here with Saints captain James Ward-Prowse, became the first Academy graduate to be commemorated as part of the Home Grown Initiative.

John Buckley, Managing Director of Carbon Footprint Ltd said: “We are delighted that Southampton Football Club has made this strong environmental commitment, and it is great that they are supporting local tree planting initiatives in the UK as well as internationally verified carbon offsetting.”

For more details, visit www.southamptonfc.com