The concept of putting on a sustainable event appears to be gaining ever greater ground among the Host Cities of the next FIFA World Cup™, with goings on in Cuiaba underlining the prevailing level of environmental concern. Indeed, the city recently launched a programme that aims to neutralise all the carbon emissions resulting from the construction of the Arena Pantanal, one of 12 stadiums set to host matches at Brazil 2014.

Their goal is certainly an ambitious one: to plant close to 1.4 million trees native to the woodland area and the Amazon Forest on the banks of the Cuiaba, Paraguay and Sao Lourenco rivers – which are the main tributaries of the Pantanal wetland system. By buying credits from the river-dwelling populations, the programme is also set to create a new source of income for nearly 3,000 families. At the same time, the measures will enable greater flood control.

The Executive Agency for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Projects (AGECOPA), an intermediary of the Mato Grosso state government, and the Instituto Ação Verde (Green Action Institute) are responsible for the saplings’ distribution as well as for providing necessary technical assistance in the state’s nine municipalities. In the second phase of the project, close to 710,000 Brazilian Reals (approx. £274,500) will be paid to local families in return for the provision of eco-systemic environmental services and carbon offsetting.

Constructing the Arena Pantanal will emit 711,000 tonnes of carbon, according to the Green Action Institute, with seven new trees required to offset each tonne. There will also be efforts made to offset water use, given that work on the Arena will consume 1.4 billion litres of water, with each hectare of new forest planted providing 250,000 litres of liquid.

The Arena Pantanal is already catching the eyes thanks to its systems for reducing energy consumption, for collecting, storing and re-using rainwater and for promoting greenery in the stadium and its surrounds. It is one of four venues in line for hosting matches at the next FIFA World Cup that are seeking to be awarded with a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certificate.