FIFA addresses sustainability at European Parliament
FIFA recently addressed the European Parliament’s Sports Group during a session on environmental sustainability in sport, highlighting the global football governing body’s evolving approach to the topic.
Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability, explained that it was “impossible for sustainability not to be an integral and major part of any bid for sporting events going forward”.
The event was led by Member of European Parliament (MEP) Tomasz Frankowski, MEP Tiziana Beghin and MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, the moderator. Further participants in the panel discussion included Nicole Mündelein, Coordinator, Host City Working Group Sustainability for UEFA Euro 2024, and Riika Rakic, Head of Sustainability, International Biathlon Union (IBU).
Addiechi acknowledged the “substantial” impact of FIFA’s major events, and explained that the governing body has three key responsibilities concerning climate change.
The first initiative is to analyse and quantify the impact of FIFA’s activities, and identify realistic goals that could help FIFA in its reduction plan towards 2030 and a net-zero goal for 2040. These objectives were part of FIFA’s Climate Strategy, which was launched by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, and are also aligned with the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
“(Climate change) is already impacting the ability for football to be played due to extreme weather patterns around the world."
Addiechi also said that FIFA’s second responsibility was to utilise the reach of its tournaments to raise awareness about the importance and need for climate action. The third point was to recognise the threat that climate change poses to football itself.
He said: “(Climate change) is already impacting the ability for football to be played due to extreme weather patterns around the world, which are affecting the health and wellbeing of players and participants, and they are becoming an existential threat in the territories of some of our member associations.
“While I believe that our organisation has been at the forefront of a comprehensive integration of sustainability in the world of sport over the past decades and has the ambition to continue leading that field in the world of sport, I am also aware of the fact that the challenges that we’re facing in this climate crisis are huge.”