FIFA 2010 Green Goal: Major Initiative to Green the FIFA World Cup Kicks Off

Johannesburg (South Africa), 8 June 2010 - Three days before the kick-off of one of the greatest global sport events on the planet – the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa – a major initiative to green the World Cup and help reduce carbon emissions was launched in Johannesburg, Tuesday.

The initiative is a result of a partnership between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

The initiative includes three major greening projects: renewable energy interventions in six World Cup host cities, an awareness-raising drive on green tourism both funded by GEF, and a UNEP programme to offset the carbon emissions of eleven World Cup teams.

Supported by US$1 million in GEF funding, one major project is the greening of public street lights, traffic lights and billboards around the stadiums of six host cities – City of Tshwane (Pretoria), Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth), Polokwane Local Municipality, Rustenburg Local Municipality and Manguang Local Municipality (Bloemfontein). Twelve billboards – two in each city – will switch to solar power, along with 60 traffic lights and 78 streetlights across the six host cities.

Another is the Green Passport project, which aims to encourage visitors to make responsible travel choices whilst visiting South Africa for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The 'Passport' – a 32-page booklet packed with greening tips and information on responsible tourism in each host city – will be distributed to 100,000 World Cup spectators. (

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in South Africa, in liaison with the Departments of Energy, Department of Tourism, Central Energy Fund, Eskom and the Local Organizing Committee, has identified five carbon offset projects in order to assist towards offsetting travelers' emissions. The projects include:

• Solar Cookers, by Sunfire Solutions

• Soil composting, by Soil and More Reliance,

• LED energy efficient lighting retrofit programme, by Lemnis Lighting,

• Wind energy, by Mainstream and

• Domestic fire lighting – basa nge magogo project, by the Nova Institute.

The identified offset projects will be attached to a carbon calculator, which will enable travelers to calculate and offset their emissions against an offset project of his/her choice.

Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs said, "Whilst we welcome the world, South Africa's hosting of the World Cup must leave a legacy for the people of South Africa. As the environment sector, we want part of the legacy to be a green legacy. In this regard, we have initiated several programmes as part of this green legacy which should benefit South Africans from all walks of life, now, and continue beyond the moment when visitors leave our shores."

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "We are proud to work with GEF and the government of South Africa, the host of this year's World Cup, to assist in greening one of the greatest sporting events on Earth. The aim is to demonstrate that all sectors of society including major sporting events can catalyze a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy. And in doing so make the players, officials and millions of fans around the world inspired to be part of a winning sustainability team."

"Events like the World Cup present a unique opportunity to showcase environmentally sound technologies and practices," said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF. "Our work with South Africa and UNEP to boost the level of renewable power generated in the six cities supporting the games will have a lasting local and global environmental impact long after the last whistle blows."

Finally, under the initiative's umbrella, eleven teams have announced they will offset the emissions caused by their participation in the event. The teams, whose offset is sponsored by PUMA, are: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Uruguay, Italy and Switzerland. Meanwhile, Chile, England, Republic of Korea and Serbia have also committed to offsetting their emissions, and UNEP hopes more countries will follow suit by the start of the tournament on 11 June.

The teams' carbon footprint includes international flights to and from South Africa, domestic flights and coaches to and from group matches for teams and officials, and accommodation in hotels – a total of approximately 6,050 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The greening project, entitled "Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Major Sporting Events, FIFA 2010 and the Green Goal", aims to leave a lasting legacy that will be continued by the city municipalities post the tournament to save energy consumption by adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency practices as illustrated by solar retro-fits. This project forms part of the South African government's National Greening Framework.

Notes to Editors

• Following the World Cup, UNEP will conduct a comprehensive Environmental Assessment to review how key environmental issues have been addressed by the tournament organizers and compile experiences and lessons learned. The host cities' green efforts will also be assessed in order to ascertain how greening solutions were delivered and to what extent they have been successfully implemented.

• An SMS Campaign has been initiated in partnership with Business, viz., Foneworx and KPMG in order to generate funds towards offsetting of the 2010 Carbon footprint.

• Details of the SMS Campaign are as follows: Show your support for the 2010 Carbon offset Programme. SMS "GOGREEN" to 34066. SMS charged at R2.00. Free SMS do not apply. This campaign is only active in South Africa.

• Eskom, a partner to the greening initiative confirmed it will donate the green portion of its existing green energy generated from 11 June 2010 until 11 July 2010, in an effort to reduce the 2010 Carbon footprint. Eskom also confirmed that its power pool partners: Cahora Basa, LEC and SNEL, who are member utilities of the Southern African Power Pool, will take part in this initiative.

• During 2008, the carbon footprint was calculated at 2,753 000 tones of CO2 emissions as a result of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The domestic footprint is estimated at 896 000 tones of CO2 whereas the emissions resulting from international travel has been estimated at 1,857 000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

For media queries contact:

Shereen Zorba, Head, UNEP News Desk, Cel:+254 713601259 , E-mail:


 © United Nations Environment Programme | privacy policy | terms and conditions |contacts