European football’s governing body "ready to do everything it can" to help achieve EU’s vision of a climate neutral economy by 2050.
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President Aleksander Čeferin announced UEFA’s support for the European Climate Pact on Wednesday, pledging to use football’s global reach to raise awareness of the climate emergency and inspire more people to take action to save the planet.
Launched in Brussels last week, the European Climate Pact invites people, communities and organisations to pro-actively contribute to the Green Deal – the European Union’s (EU) plan to create an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
"As a guardian of the world’s most popular sport, UEFA pledges its commitment to the European Climate Pact," said Mr. Čeferin.
Football’s potential to shift mindsets on climate change
"By reaching a Europe-wide audience of millions, football has the potential to dramatically shift mindsets on climate change - a critical first step to getting everyone involved in creating a climate-neutral economy," UEFA’s President added.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and responsible for the Green Deal, welcomed UEFA’s support.
"I’m looking forward to cooperating with UEFA to get even more Europeans involved in the green transition," said Timmermans. "The Climate Pact brings together European citizens, businesses, and organisations to take action to tackle the climate crisis. Pledges for the planet will show everyone the possibilities for action."
Hat-trick of climate action goals
In a video statement announcing UEFA’s support for the Pact, Mr Čeferin outlined UEFA’s climate action plans, setting out a hat-trick of goals:
• Establishing science-based targets to measure UEFA’s ongoing progress in cutting European football’s carbon footprint;
• Leveraging the global popularity of UEFA’s elite competitions to run a three-year television advertising campaign promoting the Green Deal’s call to action.
• Collaborating with European football’s key stakeholders to ensure a climate-friendly EURO 2024 in Germany.
UEFA social responsibility partners
To achieve these goals, UEFA will work closely with the European Commission, drawing on the expertise of its existing social responsibility partners, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
UEFA can also count on the wider support of national associations, clubs, leagues, fans, players and commercial partners to ensure football plays its part in achieving the 2050 targets of the Paris Agreement on lowering global temperatures.
"European football will stand with the EU in leading the charge of climate action across the continent," said Mr. Čeferin, "We will do everything we can to help Europe become the world’s first climate neutral economy."
Philipp Lahm: climate friendly EURO 2024
As part of the video statement released on Wednesday, Philipp Lahm, Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning captain, Tournament Director EURO 2024 and Managing Director DFB EURO 2024 GmbH, underlined the German Football Federation’s support for UEFA’s climate goals.
"As co-organisers of the 2024 UEFA European Championships, we want to make the tournament the most sustainable and climate friendly in EURO history," said Lahm.
EURO 2020 carbon compensation scheme
Prior to today’s pledge, UEFA had already taken steps to compensate for greenhouse gas emission generated by its football competitions.
Based on analysis showing that travel accounts for 75-80% of European football’s carbon footprint, UEFA has implemented a flight carbon compensation scheme for all travelling supporters at EURO 2020 – a tournament that will involve 12 host nations.
To offset the EURO’s climate impact, UEFA has partnered with South Pole, an organisation which helps businesses compensate their carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy and development projects around the world. For example: UEFA is providing energy-efficient cooking stoves to rural communities in Rwanda.