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GOTS Case Study:
FC St. Pauli



In the heart of the vibrant St. Pauli district in Hamburg, there is a football club that defies outdated conventions - the Football Club St. Pauli 1910 e.V., affectionately known as FC St. Pauli. But this is no ordinary football club; it is a source of social culture and a champion of sustainability, proudly holding its GOTS certification.

A History of Perseverance

Since its founding in 1910, FC St. Pauli has experienced it all - promotions and relegations on the football field. But its impact goes far beyond sports. In the 80s, it underwent a transformation and became a cultural phenomenon, shaped by left-wing politics, social activism, and its iconic skull emblem.
Confronted with the global challenges that concern us all, such as climate change, FC St. Pauli leads by example and lives sustainability! It's not just about being environmentally friendly, but also about reducing energy consumption, minimising resource use, and upholding human rights for the benefit of all.

For FC St. Pauli, sustainability is more than just a word - it's a way of life. This creed is built upon five central principles deeply embedded in the club:
Fairness: Throughout the production and supply chain, FC St. Pauli guarantees fairness. This means appropriate wages, dignified working conditions, and a strict “Never!“ to child labour.

Ecology: Environmental responsibility is paramount. The club emblem is proudly printed on organic cotton, recycled materials, and organic fabrics in functional clothing.

Economic sustainability: Striking a balance between sustainability and financial stability is crucial. The revenue from merchandise directly supports sports and social activities without driving up prices.

Local ties: FC St. Pauli passionately supports local initiatives, whether through fan projects or aid to the Hamburg club scene in difficult times. The club is deeply rooted in its neighbourhood and demonstrates teamwork off the football field as well.

Diversity: Diversity is a must-have! FC St. Pauli's products are increasingly gender-neutral and offer a variety of fits and styles to ensure everyone feels welcome. FC St. Pauli is not just a football club; it is a movement for a better and more sustainable world.

The Sustainable Football Experience – Not an Offside Situation Anymore:



What set the ball rolling? A 17-year-old member's proposal to implement sustainability in merchandise production during the general assembly led to prompt action. FC St. Pauli responded by introducing a line of GOTS-certified merchandise products and is still applying these principles to more and more products, including its jerseys. Now, a significant portion of cotton textiles is GOTS-certified – and FC St. Pauli is the only football club in the world to be a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.
Starting from the 2021/22 season, FC St. Pauli, in collaboration with DIIY, designed the jerseys and team sport collection of the professional team. This has led to special designs that pay tribute to the club's values. For example, the third jersey of the 2022/23 season is inspired by local graffiti artist OZ, honours his art, and contributes to the upkeep of his grave through donations from parts of the sales proceeds, in line with FC St. Pauli's focus on counterculture and community.

FC St. Pauli's dedication to sustainability and GOTS certification extends far beyond the football field. The club recognises the immense social significance of football and uses it as a platform to promote sustainability and inspire others to follow their example. This journey is a shining example for the football community, showing that fair treatment on and off the field deserves green thumbs up! FC St. Pauli is not just a football club; it is a movement for a better, more inclusive, and sustainable world.