FIFA taking its responsibilities seriously

FIFA’s CSR division is a wide-ranging department which looks at everything from the organisation’s carbon emissions to the ecological and sociological impact of hosting a FIFA World Cup™ all the way to social projects such as opening Football For Hope centres in Africa.

In June, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for Brazil 2014 headed to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development with the Brazilian government to present a strategy for staging the 2014 event sustainably.

The aim of the strategy is not only to mitigate the negative impact, but also maximise the positive effects of hosting the FIFA World Cup. A total of US$20m worth of investment by FIFA into the project will include green stadiums, waste management, renewable energy, community support and reducing and offsetting carbon emissions.

Football is arguably the Brazilians’ greatest passion, and football and the FIFA World Cup can certainly be strong catalysts for changing attitudes in favour of living more sustainable lives and adapting our daily routines.
Bebeto, former Brazil international and member of the LOC's board of administration

Brazil 2014 will be the first FIFA World Cup to have a comprehensive sustainability strategy, and the strategy itself builds on the experience gained from the environmental and social development programmes that have been in place at FIFA tournaments since 2005.

The topic of sustainability was also highlighted at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, with seminars delivered in respect, ecology and health. Also, children from the disaster-hit Fukushima region received invitations from FIFA and the LOC to attend Japanese national team matches.

Fair Play was also to the fore in Japan, with the 16th FIFA Fair Play Days falling during the competition. The captains of hosts Japan, as well as those of Germany, Nigeria and USA, declared their support and commitment to fair play ahead of their semi-finals in Tokyo

The support of the football community has been incredible. I think that has made our passion for football even stronger.
Yonefumi Sato, mother of one of the Fukushima children

At another women’s tournament, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan, the ongoing partnership between the Azerbaijan Football Association and UNICEF was supported through seminars, funded by FIFA, in Baku, Lankaran and Ganja. These seminars promoted the participation of girls in football as well as highlighting a healthy lifestyle and children’s rights in sport.

Children in a very different community benefitted from the opening of two new Football For Hope Centres. One was incepted in Ghana in March and the other in Rwanda in October, with both adding new milestones to the official campaign of South Africa 2010.

The centre in Ghana combines football, health and social skills in a curriculum that is open to children across the entire community, while in Rwanda, the centre offers children opportunities to participate in theatre and become peace advocates in their communities.

Whenever I come here I meet my friends and we play together. After playing I go to the classroom to learn with them too. Our coaches also teach us health skills like malaria prevention and how to keep our bodies clean.
Patrick Eshun, a 13-year-old local pupil from Ghana and beneficiary of the Oguaa Football for Hope Centre

In November, the hosts from all 20 centres across the continent came together at the third annual workshop for centre hosts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Activities at the completed centres in South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Mali and Lesotho are proving very successful, while construction work in the other locations is progressing and generating excitement in the communities.

FIFA’s CSR campaign is not limited to educating about environmental issues, with direct action also taken during the last year. A 2010 study showed that FIFA’s carbon footprint was estimated at 48,488 tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year, with 75 per cent attributed to flight activities. FIFA then took the decision to compensate 100 per cent of its flight emissions in 2012 via Gold Standard-certified carbon mitigation projects.

As well as proving the organisation’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions, Anti-Discrimination was highlighted during the year. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter met senior representatives of English football at Wembley Stadium in July for a football conference set on tackling racism and discrimination.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley, FA Chairman David Bernstein, FIFA’s first female member of the Executive Committee, Lydia Nsekera from the Burundi FA, and The FA’s first female board member Heather Rabbatts all pledged their collective support and commitment to tackling discrimination in football.

In addition, the 11th FIFA Anti-Discrimination Days took place ahead of a Round-of-16 match at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand, with the captains of the host nation and Spain calling on spectators and fans all over the world to support them in this cause.

It was indeed a busy year for FIFA’s CSR team, and there are plenty more initiatives and plans for 2013, so keep your eyes peeled to FIFA.com for all the latest news and developments.