FIFA President shows commitment to tackling climate change at COP26

3 Nov 2021

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has emphasised FIFA’s commitment to tackling climate change in the world of football in a video message to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The COP26 summit is bringing parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The FIFA President said: “Dear Executive Secretary, Ms Patricia Espinosa Dear COP 26 President Designate, Mr Alok Sharma, Dear Prince Albert of Monaco, Dear Ms Isha Johansen Dear world leaders, Dear delegates, dear ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to share our plans to tackle climate change, in the world of football. This is a critical moment. The change in weather patterns is impacting the environment and its rich biodiversity, food security and access to fresh water as well as the health and well-being of individuals. It is affecting the lives of entire communities and even threatens the existence of low-altitude countries and entire island nations. Football is not immune to these significant changes and around the world, grassroots, recreational, amateur and elite football are being affected.

COP26 Gianni Infantino quote

Following my election as FIFA President in 2016, FIFA became the first international sports organisation to join the UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now campaign, pledging to measure, reduce and compensate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the FIFA World Cups. At the COP24 in Poland in 2018, FIFA became a founding signatory to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework. Many countries dream of staging a FIFA World Cup. Our new bidding requirements mean that those countries considered for hosting must ensure they have stringent, robust measures in place to prioritise sustainability. FIFA requires for all its members involved in hosting a FIFA World Cup or a FIFA Women’s World Cup to follow key principles for sustainable event management and promote sustainable development in their country. Among the minimum standards we demand include an environmental impact assessment, the sustainability of stadiums in terms of how they are designed, built and operated, and the reduction of and recycling of waste. Earlier this year, we published the carbon footprint of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and, together with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Qatar, reconfirmed our joint pledge to make this next major tournament fully carbon neutral. We have also developed a green infrastructure standard for our member associations’ football facilities which are funded globally through the FIFA Forward Programme. This is about future proofing. We have introduced requirements and criteria to ensure climate-friendly and climate-change-resilient buildings.

On behalf of FIFA, I am proud to announce that - based on our long experience with climate action in football - FIFA has developed a comprehensive climate strategy and is committed to investing substantial resources that will allow FIFA and football to reach the ambitious and necessary objectives of the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework: to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2040.

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The FIFA Climate Strategy lays out our plan to accelerate the delivery of solutions to protect our beautiful planet and our beautiful game. It aims to:

  • educate the global football workforce on climate-related impacts and climate-friendly solutions;

  • adapt football regulations and activities to be more resilient to current and anticipated impacts of climate change;

  • reduce the carbon emissions of FIFA and football to contribute to the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework objectives;

  • invest in climate protection and support football stakeholders with access to know-how and funding to -

  • tackle the impacts of climate change.

We must not stop. FIFA will continue to take climate action leadership by engaging actively and collectively with all stakeholders. So, I am delighted that FIFA Council Member, Ms Isha Johansen, has agreed to attend on my behalf and share with you more information about our work to continue protecting the planet. I wish you all a very successful COP26 in Glasgow, as we all firmly commit to playing our part in a more sustainable future.”