The FIFA World Cup is the world’s largest single-event sporting competition, so it only makes sense that FIFA wants to project what the carbon footprint of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be. That carbon footprint will be significant, with just over 2.7 million tons of carbon projected to be emitted altogether by both the 2014 World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup. Transportation is expected to account for 80.1 percent of the carbon footprint, according to a report released in May. Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, stated in a recent blog post that FIFA and the World Cup local organizing committee (LOC) will offset carbon emissions through offsetting projects and by encouraging stakeholders to “lower their carbon footprint.”
The cornerstone of the Sustainability Strategy for the 2014 World Cup is understanding the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that will be generated, according to the report. The report acknowledges that the environmental impacts are “indisputable.” One of the ways that FIFA plans on mitigating those impacts is through building greener stadiums. Most of the World Cup stadiums in Brazil are planning to achieve LEED certifications, and many are installing rooftop solar panels. In addition, FIFA and LOC are organizing certified training courses on sustainable management for stadium operators.
Environmental achievements of past World Cups
A report on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa showed that the carbon footprint was far less than projected. A total of 1.65 million tons of carbon equivalent were emitted as opposed to the 2.64 million tons projected. The report details some of the ways that the carbon footprint ended up being less, including:
- Reducing energy and water use at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa. The stadium had energy efficient lighting which reduced energy use by 30 percent. Potable water use at the stadium was reduced by 74 percent through water metering, rainwater harvesting and water-wise fittings.
- Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa used natural ventilation systems to reduce energy use, and met its water reduction target of a 10 percent cut.
- In Durban, two- and five-bin systems were used in most spectator and catering areas, which led to almost 200 tons of generated waste being recycled, beating the Green Durban 2010 target for waste by four percent.
- Cape Town retrofitted streetlights with low energy light bulbs and traffic lights with LEDs.
- Durban offset its carbon footprint through carbon offset projects, including planting 104,000 trees.
- In Johannesburg, a 94 kilometer Bus Rapid Transport network was built.
The 2006 World Cup in Germany was the first to have measurable environmental targets that were both set and monitored. A report for the 2006 World Cup reveals that the transportation goal was exceeded. The public transport share ended up being 57 percent, seven points higher than the 50 percent goal.
Photo: Mohammed Moosa