Environmental considerations are now firmly part of the World Cup team as a result of measures taken to green the 2006 tournament, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.
Speaking at the launch of a final report on the achievements of the ‘Green Goal’, an initiative undertaken by the German organizers of this year’s FIFA 2006 World Cup, Achim Steiner said:” The German Local Organizing Committee have put down a clear and unequivocal environmental foundation from which future host countries can now build”.
“Unlike the Olympics, the environment has been something of an outsider at World Cups but this has now changed and to my mind there is no going back. Organizers of future FIFA World Cup events will now have to consider playing the environment up front as one of the leading strikers in their planning and policy strategies. Otherwise they risk own goals and off-sides from domestic and international public opinion,” added the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.
The legacy report on ‘Green Goal’ highlights how—through a range of domestic measures including the deployment of renewable energy at stadia and boosting the use of public and non-motorized transport by fans—significant greenhouse gas emission reductions were achieved.
Indeed the 30-day tournament will go down in history as the first ‘climate neutral’ World Cup the report indicates.
In addition to domestic climate friendly measures, the Organizers offset rises in emissions in Germany through support of clean energy schemes in India and South Africa—the host country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The final report showed that the amount of greenhouse gases saved by these combined actions more than compensated for the emissions generated by the tournament—so much so that the flights to and from Germany by stars like Rooney and Ronaldino and FIFA officials were also offset.
Mr Steiner, who was in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the Global Forum for Sport and Environment conference, said:” UNEP has been proud to have been associated with the ‘Green Goal’ and not just for its achievement on climate but for its achievements in areas from waste avoidance to the harvesting of rainwater for pitches. We stand ready to assist the organizers of the 2010 tournament in South Africa score their own Green Goals and in doing so send a clear signal to organizers of all mass audience events that environment deserves top billing—is no longer a support act but a big draw in its own right”.
Horst Schmidt, Senior Vice-President of the Organizing Committee, said: “We are proud to present the results achieved by the Green Goal. They demonstrate that Germany grasped the opportunity to present itself as a country that is friendly towards guests, keen on sport and environmentally aware”.
“We hope that the organizers of large sporting events in the future will further optimise Green Goal and that environmental protection will be a firmly established, integral part of the FIFA World Cup wherever the tournament is organized,” he added.
The final report has been compiled by the Oeko Institute, an independent body that advised the German 2006 Local Organizing Committee with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
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