The World Cup: Emissions from Russia
The grass isn't the only major green concern at the FIFA World Cup in Russia this year, there's also the carbon emission policies. At ReGen we want to explore the work being done off the field to create a sustainable tournament.
When the World Cup was awarded to Russia, many people assumed this fossil fuel giant would struggle to match the eco-friendly ethos promoted in Brazil 2014. But, early indications suggest Russia 2018 will prove to be the greenest World Cup so far. The Russian government, tournament organisers and FIFA have worked together to lower the carbon footprint of the global spectacular.
Brazil set the bar.
Part of the reason that Russia is under so much pressure to produce an eco-friendly tournament as a result of its successful predecessor. In Brazil, new and innovative initiatives were put in place to offset environmental harm. Initially, Brazil offered "carbon credits" to businesses working on the overall World Cup infrastructure and later to fans themselves. The initiative allowed businesses to put money towards offsetting their carbon footprint. In the end, the scheme was deemed to have only addressed 19-20% of the tournaments carbon tonnage, but it was a positive step.
Aside from donations from fans and contractors, the stadiums were built with sustainability in mind. The greatest example of a modern stadium was the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, which incorporated a 2.5MW-capacity solar-array. The stadium is regularly included in lists of the world's greenest stadia. Other eco-features include rainwater harvesting and reuse and low-energy LED lighting around the ground.
Russia steps up
In a country where only 3.6% of all electric comes from renewable sources, it was difficult to imagine that this world cup would compete with the eco-efforts of Brazil. Despite this, Russia has implemented some great green actions and expect to eliminate 550,000 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to Brazil. The emissions, largely related to travel to the event, will be lowered in cooperation with FIFA. Low emission transport is fast becoming one of the most important battlegrounds, read more on the issue here.
The football governing body aims to be a carbon neutral organisation by 2050, and they are incentivising their cause at this World Cup. This year's ticket holders have been invited to donate against their carbon footprint, if they do so, they will enter a draw for tickets to the final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The scheme is extended to 34,500 fans and while it may seem a small number, it is at least a step in the right direction.
Lighting up the World Cup
The stadiums at this year's world cup are all expected to meet green building standards with some stadiums already granted interim certificates. This falls in-line with FIFA's pledge to ensure all newly built stadiums meet BREEAM standards. The result is a collection of stadiums which are designed to welcome natural light and use less energy in lighting thanks to LEDs. The stadiums at Kaliningrad and Saransk will also harvest rainwater and electric-free tub lighting.
Waste management will also be expected to be closely monitored, after huge successes in Brazil. At the 2014 finals, the recycling target of 320 tonnes was met and a further 39% of recyclables collected. Russia will produce as much if not more waste due to increased visitor numbers at the tournament. While there will be a vast amount of non-recyclables, there have been more bins placed around fan zones and in stadiums. Increasing the recycling volume is a problem that ReGen has been addressing for years. The ability to separate and recycle mixed materials be they plastics, drinks cans or food containers has proved vital in how ReGen have updated recycling methods.
At Russia and later in Qatar 2022, FIFA need to put sustainability at the heart of the beautiful game and ensure that they continue on their progress to date. Thankfully, FIFA are setting a good example and understand how important green education is. If you’re interested in continuing your green reading or want more info on our work at ReGen Waste, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.