Championing Energy Efficiency: World Cup Edition

by ‐ Tags: current events

The FIFA World Cup is now in full swing and with it comes a whirlwind of excitement and controversy. Most of us have probably heard about the protests and riots that took place leading up to the event, as well as the trumped up economic benefits of hosting such a prestigious event. Many Brazilians are upset with the amount of public money being spent on hosting the tournament and feel that the government has not spent their money responsibly.

Questions of corruption and spending aside, FIFA has stepped up big time this year in managing the carbon footprint of the event. The 2014 World Cup is being held in twelve different cities across Brazil and the carbon footprint that comes with orchestrating such a spectacle is no joke. FIFA is eager to set a positive example on such a large stage and has made great strides in reducing its carbon emissions.

FIFA football for the planet

In order to better understand the environmental impact of the World Cup, FIFA conducted a study on the various drivers of CO2 emissions. It found that the event as a whole accounts for approximately 2.7 million tons of CO2. Of this 2.7 million tons, 50.6% is from international transportation, 29.5% from inter-city transportation, and just 9.6% is from the stadiums themselves.

FIFA has taken responsibility for this large carbon footprint by setting up the Carbon Offsetting Program. This program aims to develop a portfolio of carbon offsetting projects with the goal of counterbalancing all CO2 emissions under FIFA operating control. 

One part of this program is the Offsetting Campaign for Ticketholders. The large majority of CO2 emissions comes from international and inter-city travel, due to the mass influx of World Cup fans from all over the globe. This campaign aims to offset travel emissions from at least 50,000 ticketholders, which amounts to about 80,000 tons of carbon. Any World Cup ticket holder could sign up for free to offset their trip to Brazil, and FIFA believes this will help raise global awareness about energy conservation.

FIFA has also teamed up with Yingli Solar, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, to install solar panels on two stadiums. The Estádio do Maracanã will host the first ever fully solar powered World Cup Final and it is equipped with solar panels that will offset 350 tons of CO2 per year (equivalent to the impact of planting 14,000 trees). The Arena Pernambuco will host five solar powered matches and will generate enough energy to power 600 average homes per year.

As we enjoy the passion and excitement of the World Cup this summer, let’s take a second to consider the event’s environmental impact (as well as our own) and the responsibility that comes with it.

Let's go team USA!