Following the launch of the new European Commission’s “Green Deal”, national football teams are preparing for Euro 2020, considering which actions should be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of the ‘king of sports’: football.
The average European football match generates 0.6 kg of waste per spectator. Taking into account all matches organised by Europe’s National Football Associations, the overall waste generation is an estimated 750 000 tonnes per year. Sporting clubs and governing bodies, together with local authorities, have made big strides in tackling environmental issues, but coherent strategies and impact measurement systems are still lacking.
There are many initiatives aimed at recycling water and waste, such as turning plastic into clothes or beer cups into a fully recycled plastic football pitch.
Some may argue that this is not enough, as change should come more directly from efficient energy use or fewer greenhouse gas emissions. For example, for major events like the Olympics, air travel typically has the largest environmental impact, followed by venue construction. So where should the focus be?
The panel discussed questions such as:
How can the sports sector move from fragmented initiatives and stand-alone projects to integrated sustainability?
How to incentivise stadiums to implement pre-defined measures?