Thursday 07 July 2022, 09:00

FIFA Foundation joins UPL for European launch of The Gigaton Carbon Goal

  • Mauricio Macri says sustainable development and education are FIFA Foundation priorities

  • The initiative aims to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by one gigaton by 2040

  • Designed to support farmers in adopting sustainable practices

Following the successful launch in South America, the FIFA Foundation has joined UPL. Ltd for the European launch of The Gigaton Carbon Goal, an ambitious plan aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide by one gigaton (one billion tonnes) by 2040 through more sustainable farming methods. The FIFA Foundation was represented at the launch in Paris by its Executive Chairman, the former President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, and by Louis Saha and Didier Drogba, former internationals for France and Côte d'Ivoire respectively and FIFA Legends. "At the FIFA Foundation, our mission is simple but very powerful: we want to use football to make a positive impact on people’s lives," said Mr Macri, who is also a former President of C.A. Boca Juniors. "Sustainable development and education are our two main priorities. We believe that, through football, we can promote and raise awareness of any issue that helps make the world a better place." "By joining forces, we are trying to contribute to protecting the environment and improving the lives of millions of people globally. It is through collaboration, and collective action, that we will achieve our aims."

Gigaton Carbon Goal European Launch

FIFA’s participation is part of its contribution to tackling climate change. FIFA’s climate strategy, unveiled last year, includes a commitment to reduce football’s emissions and contribute to achieving the global goals with a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2040, as per the goals set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. Between 2021 to 2024, The Gigaton Carbon Goal will initially follow a pilot phase in Brazil, Argentina, India, USA and some European countries, which will be followed by a scaling-up phase from 2025 to 2040 worldwide. "The idea of this partnership with the FIFA Foundation was to create an exciting environment where we have a reward system to reward and recognise farmers who do outstanding things in agriculture," said Jai Shroff, the CEO of UPL Ltd. "Today we are so happy that the whole carbon market is opening up and governments and companies are accepting that carbon credits from agriculture should also be included in the whole decarbonisation of the world."

Gigaton Carbon Goal European Launch

Didier Drogba said he felt a connection to farmers in his country. "On multiple occasions, I was lucky enough to go into the villages, to see my grandparents cultivating rice or working in the cocoa fields," said Drogba, who played for Côte d’Ivoire when they made their FIFA World Cup first debut in 2006. "The whole process is really fastidious; you need to have a lot of discipline, as I said before. It’s really something that speaks to me, and that’s why I’m happy to be here today. When I was invited, I said “yes” straight away because these topics still speak to me today. We still have a lot of things to improve upon in terms of agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire, but the country is trying to evolve in this regard and specially to allow farmers to have processing plants in Côte d’Ivoire so that they can be valued a bit more." Louis Saha said there were certain parallels between being a footballer and working in agriculture. “We were taught to be disciplined and to wake up in the morning, and we knew that our development would take time. Education takes time, too, and in agriculture, we need to accept that vegetables don’t grow right after you plant the seed,” he said. “All of that is about putting education and the values of sport, as well as the values of agriculture, to the forefront when it comes to the education system of today.” The collaboration between the FIFA Foundation and UPL forms part of a Memorandum of Understanding announced in August 2020. The partnership was created with the explicit goal of joining forces to promote sustainable development in agriculture and education in society through the power of football.