There is no denying the power of sport, football in this case, for change.
The pre-match surety of action amid an abject uncertainty of the scoreboard reading at full-time, the overt display of excitement before a big game amid a covert inner fear of disappointment at the final whistle, the exemplification of our freedom of choice for our allegiances amid an inexplicable mythical bound on our being for 90 minutes, indeed, nothing does things to us like football.
It is for this reason that global commitment towards using football as a tool for climate action is incredibly refreshing. The upcoming World Cup in Qatar will be one of such tools.
Over the last few years, the football world has increasingly joined the fight against climate change.
In December 2018, world football’s governing body Fifa joined the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, and in November last year, joined the calls for action as leaders from around the world convene for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland. The Premier League was a party to this agenda committing to net-zero emission by 2040.
Earlier this year, European football’s governing body Uefa and the European Commission launched a campaign for the second season of a three-year course to raise public awareness about Europe’s climate and energy priorities.
Like World Cup tournaments in recent times, the 2022 global fiesta will play its part too.
According to the World Cup’s sustainability progress report, the tournament’s primary delivery partners have defined five joint sustainability commitments on pillars of human, social, economic, environmental and governance to delivering an event with a significant long-term impact on “leaving a greener, more equitable place for generations to come”.
Quick Fact: Did you know that the FIFA World Cup in 2018 was in part offset through CO2balance?
As part of the environmental efforts, stadiums, training centres and transport infrastructure are designed and built according to sustainable building standards. Measures are in place to offset all greenhouse gas emissions, while advancing low-carbon solutions in Qatar and the region. Using innovative monitoring technology, air quality will be tracked to understand pollution sources for mitigation.
Again, all stadiums will implement high-level waste management practices by ensuring proper waste segregation, sorting and storing. Furthermore, water will be reused when possible, amid smart controls to prevent excessive resource usage at facilities.
According to Fifa, it is “committed to delivering a fully carbon-neutral tournament and aim to set a benchmark for environmental stewardship by implementing leading sustainable building standards, waste and water management practices and low-emission solutions”.
The world is currently in a frantic battle with climate change, and it is, thus, refreshing to see football play its part.
When the whistle goes for the opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday, it will be the beginning of nothing but a roller coaster of meshed emotions over the next month.
And for every emotion, it will be important reminder of the power of a sport which has just so much to contribute to tomorrow’s better world.