Soccer fans all around the world have been waiting for the last four years to see their favorite players compete in the World Cup. The month long event will kick off on June 14th and come to a close on July 15th. As the largest single sport competition in the world, millions of spectators will be traveling from around the globe to this year’s host country, Russia.
While the games are known for boosting the host country’s local economy, it often comes at a steep price. The impact these massive games have on the environment can be significant as carbon emissions inevitably spike. FIFA, the international governing body for soccer which runs this event, has linked up with experts to forecast the potential carbon emissions from the games and find a solution to combat the problem.
As a result, the greenhouse gas report found that this upcoming event is estimated to generate over 2.1 million tCO2e. A big chunk of that number is directly tied to fans traveling to Russia and bouncing around host cities to attend games within the country. To reduce this impact and raise awareness of climate change, FIFA unveiled a carbon offset campaign to help fans reduce their carbon emissions when traveling during this time.
The idea behind the campaign is simple. Regardless of wherever they may live, ticket holding fans just need to sign up online to participate. For every signature, FIFA will offset 2.9 tonnes of carbon emissions, which represents the average amount of travel emissions per international ticket holder. By the end of the games, FIFA plans to offset up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through this program.
Apart from feeling good about doing something positive for the environment, fans will have another incentive to sign up for the carbon offsetting program. Every fan that signs up is automatically entered to win two tickets for the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
So how exactly does FIFA plan to offset carbon emissions? Essentially, offsetting CO2 is canceling out emissions from one activity by removing emissions in another way. Since FIFA can’t completely avoid carbon emissions that will result from fans heading to the games, they found that the next best thing is to reduce CO2 by working with low-carbon development projects around the world and in Russia. To properly execute this massive undertaking, FIFA has teamed up with the United Nations (UN).
Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s Secretary General, explained the decision to focus on climate change at the UN headquarters in New York City, saying, “Each one of us, as well as every organisation, has to take responsibility for the world we live in and lead by example. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we are proud to commit to this cause. Beyond the pledge and through the power of football, we also aim to inspire greater awareness and best practices in sustainability standards.”
While it may be challenging to control the carbon footprint of millions of fans during a month long event, FIFA is also focusing on what they can control. The organization has teamed up with environmental experts and local organizers to develop a Sustainable Strategy so they can to stick to their environmental goals. As a result, FIFA has pledged to offset all unavoidable emissions within its operations.
Apart from signing up online for this campaign, FIFA will also encourage fans to use public transportation and will offer free rides to and from stadiums in host cities on match days. Not a soccer fan? Anyone can monitor their personal footprint by measuring and reducing their carbon emissions with a CO2 calculator online.