To underline the organisation’s commitment to protecting the environment and climate, the FIFA President launched FIFA’s Climate Strategy at COP26 in Glasgow, through which FIFA pledged to halve its carbon emissions by 2030 and become net zero by 2040, in accordance with the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
In 2021, FIFA and the local tournament organisers, including the host country, continued to implement the joint FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy, which outlines five sustainability commitments, 22 strategic objectives and 79 concrete initiatives and programmes.
In terms of infrastructure, the final three stadiums to be completed, Al Thumama Stadium, Stadium 974 and Lusail Stadium, are set to achieve the maximum five-star GSAS certification for design and build, thus exceeding FIFA’s requirements for sustainable stadium construction. Six of the eight stadiums that will stage the matches are also targeting a minimum of “gold” rating for GSAS operations certification. This will ensure that not only are they built sustainably, they will also be operated sustainably for many years after the tournament. The only two exceptions are the temporary Stadium 974 and Lusail Stadium, which will not be operating long enough ahead of the tournament to obtain sufficient data.
In 2021, FIFA and the local tournament organisers published the projected greenhouse gas emissions from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and committed to offset all emissions that cannot be reduced, including those from fan travel and accommodation, thus achieving a fully carbon-neutral tournament.
Over the past year, attention was focused on the strategic objective of minimising waste sent to landfill and promoting recycling solutions in Qatar. In a country where recycling is far from the norm and where the large majority of waste is either incinerated or ends up in landfill, the FIFA World Cup is proving to be a powerful catalyst for positive change.
Furthermore, the host country has also committed to holding a plastic-neutral FIFA World Cup, an initiative that includes raising awareness, developing waste reduction plans and offsetting plastics used in the tournament by physically removing plastic waste from rivers and oceans.
The intensive planning phase for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 also began in earnest in 2021 with the development of a sustainability strategy and the recruitment of a local team of subject-matter experts in Australia and New Zealand.
For the FIFA World Cup 2026, the host city selection process across Canada, the USA and Mexico included the fulfilment of extensive sustainability requirements, as had been the case in the comprehensive bidding process.
2021 also saw the launch of the FIFA Sustainable Sourcing Code, which applies to all of FIFA’s procurements and sets out minimum sustainability requirements. For high-risk procurements, specific requirements and a sustainability questionnaire are added to the tender, customised clauses are added to the contract and compliance with the code is ensured through direct engagement with the supplier and audits of its operations.