When Aram Cherkezyan received the email telling him he had won a trip to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Final, the 25-year-old IT worker from Armenia thought it was too good to be true. “I had heard about the offset programme, and I thought it was a win-win. I was glad to help, but when I heard from FIFA [about the Final trip], I thought it was a scam.”
The programme Cherkezyan refers to was launched in April, with FIFA encouraging successful ticket applicants to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their travel to the tournament for free. All ticket holders were invited to sign up on FIFA.com and take part in the campaign. For each ticket holder that signed up, FIFA offset 2.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e), which is the average emission per ticket holder traveling from abroad. When signing up, fans automatically entered a prize draw to win two tickets for the Final at Luzhniki Stadium.
The winner of that special prize was Cherkezyan, a big Real Madrid fan, who went to his first World Cup match when he saw England and Colombia, and then his first Final – thanks to FIFA.
“Football is one of the most loved and cared about things in the world. When we learn to care about climate change half as much as about football, we will be living in much greener environment. As football fans, we have to pass the healthier planet to the next generation of fans,” he said.
Inside the campaign FIFA and the Local Organising Committee are offsetting all of the operational emissions directly under their control. This includes emissions resulting from the travel and accommodation of all staff, officials, teams, volunteers and guests as well as emissions resulting from venues, stadiums, offices and TV production.
In total, FIFA is compensating 259’547 tonnes of CO2 (243,000 of its own emissions and 16’547 from the fans who participated in the free contest) through Gold Standard carbon offsets from Russia and from the United Nations 'Climate Neutral Now' online platform for voluntary cancellation of certified emission reductions.
“The Earth's climate is changing due to human activity. We need to reduce the emissions that enter the atmosphere,” says Federico Addiechi, Head of FIFA Sustainability & Diversity. “FIFA made the commitment to offset all of its carbon emissions related to preparing and staging the FIFA World Cup, but we also wanted to use the opportunity to engage with fans and raise awareness of the environmental impact of their travel and the ways to mitigate it. Today, we are very happy with the outcome of this programme and the related campaign.”
Among the project portfolio is a low-carbon project in the Russian city of Sharya that replaces fossil fuels in a wood processing manufacturing plant by biomass and hence leads to a substantial reduction in the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions. More information on this and other projects selected from the Climate Neutral Now platform can be found here.
For more information on FIFA’s Sustainability Strategy for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, please visit http://www.fifa.com/sustainability.