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Circular economy

Our guidelines are the starting point for switching European football from a linear, take-make-waste approach to the 4R circular model: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover.

Watch: Circular Economy Guidelines – what are they?

European football currently uses a traditional, linear model of production and consumption – take-make-consume-throw away – which reuses or recycles just 9% of of materials and products. We aim to shift football to a more sustainable model known as a circular economy that is based on the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover. In practice, this implies slowing down the use of raw materials and the discharge of plastics, minimising food wastage and limiting biodiversity loss.

In 2023, we introduced the UEFA Circular Economy Guidelines to help the European football community limit the game’s environmental impact and cut energy and resource consumption. They focus on four areas of football operations and events:

  • Food and beverage
  • Apparel and football equipment
  • Event materials
  • Energy and water consumption

Eight steps to a circular economy

Developed in collaboration with our member associations, the European Club Association, commercial partners – including PepsiCo, adidas and Macron – academics and European institutions, the guidelines propose an eight-step programme for transitioning to a circular economy rooted in the 4Rs:

  • Identify focal points
  • Analyse context
  • Define mission
  • Set key performance indicators
  • Prioritise solutions
  • Create action plans
  • Monitor progress
  • Report achievements

To help associations, leagues, clubs, event organisers and other football stakeholders assess the circularity of their events, the guidelines offer a checklist. When we refer to football events, it means congresses, seminars and workshops, as well as matches.

Sustainability impact

In 2023, we worked closely with our commercial partners Heineken, Just EatTakeaway.com and PepsiCo to minimise the amount of food and plastic waste at the UEFA men’s and women’s Champions League finals in Eindhoven and Istanbul respectively.

Useful resources

UEFA Circular Economy Guidelines: Event checklist (PDF)

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