Thursday 30 June 2022, 16:30

FIFA stresses need for climate action at Play the Game conference

  • Event brought international experts together to discuss key issues on current sporting agenda

  • FIFA Head of Sustainability & Environment Federico Addiechi underlined need for immediate action

The need for urgent action by international sports organisations to tackle climate change was at the core of today’s presentation by FIFA Head of Sustainability & Environment Federico Addiechi at the 12th Play the Game conference in Odense. The conference brought together academics and industry experts from the fields of law, sustainability and governance, among others, to discuss pressing issues on the current sporting agenda. Addiechi featured on a panel alongside author David Goldblatt, National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark board member Rikke Rønholt, University of Colorado Boulder professor Roger Pielke and Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities consultant Jakob Færch.

During the session, which was entitled “Playing against the clock: Can sport contain climate change?”, Addiechi stated: “Since 2010, FIFA has been measuring and offsetting carbon emissions, as well as engaging with stakeholders to understand climate change impacts and find solutions. FIFA will continue to take climate action leadership by engaging actively and collectively with member associations, teams, players, fans, other sports, [parties to] the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other key stakeholders and reaching climate neutrality by 2040.”

“As the title of this panel correctly says, we are all playing against the clock. We need to review how we do sport fundamentally, not only to contribute to reducing emissions but also to adapt our sports to the changes in our climate and physical environment so that they can be enjoyed by future generations, just as we have been enjoying them,” he added.

Play the Game 2022 conference. Playing against the clock: Can sport contain climate change? (Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game)

FIFA offset all its own emissions related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and carried out a campaign to raise fans’ awareness on climate change. FIFA was the first sports federation to join the UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now campaign, in 2016, and became a founding signatory to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework two years later at the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland. FIFA’s climate action efforts continued at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Subsequently, during last year’s COP26 in Scotland, the organisation confirmed its UNFCCC pledge and committed to reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040, as part of the detailed FIFA Climate Strategy. Most recently, FIFA launched the Green Card for the Planet awareness-raising and environmental protection campaign. As part of the initiative, FIFA President Gianni Infantino called on people across the world to support the campaign by preparing their own Green Card for the Planet video message, in which they mention an action that they will undertake to protect the environment while also nominating others to follow suit. In line with the FIFA World Cup 2022™ Sustainability Strategy, FIFA and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have pledged to measure, mitigate and offset all FIFA World Cup 2022-related greenhouse gas emissions, while advancing low-carbon solutions in Qatar and the region.