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FIFA Women’s World Cup organisers outline sustainability efforts

June 01 2023 - News Release News Editorial

Organisers of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand have committed to new ways of being more sustainable and inclusive, and to help raise the benchmark for holding major sporting events in the Asia-Pacific region.

FIFA Women’s World Cup organisers outline sustainability efforts

Football’s global governing body has made sustainability integral to the World Cup hosting journey, from the bidding process through to the delivery of the tournament, since the men’s edition in Brazil in 2014.

The upcoming Women’s World Cup, which is expanding from 24 to 32 teams this year, will focus on sustainability in four key areas: accessibility, environment, human rights and safeguarding. 

Federico Addiechi, FIFA Head of Sustainability and Environment, said: “We have an incredible opportunity to leverage the visibility and interest of the women’s fame to shine the spotlight on accessibility, environment, human rights and safeguarding, and a responsibility to ensure our tournament minimises the negative and maximises the positive impact it has on people, society, the economy and the environment.”

The Asia-Pacific region is set to host a number of sporting tournaments over the next 10 years including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane. 

Sheila Nguyen, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand Head of Sustainability, said: “We are well aware that we are one of the first of many international events locally, and we really want to make sure that what we do is improving, advancing, and planting seeds of ideas and actions.

“We evaluate every idea and, if it is a first and an improvement, we want to do it. Even if it is small, it opens a door, which paves the way for others to follow suit. We can then share those learnings to other events coming down the line.” 

“From an emissions perspective, FIFA has committed to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework." Sheila Nguyen, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand Head of Sustainability

In the build-up to July’s Women’s World Cup, there has been an increased focus on the inclusion of First Nations and Māori Peoples, as well as the establishment of a cultural panel.

FIFA has also taken steps forward with its safeguarding support systems. This year will be the first time a full-scale safeguarding programme is being deployed at the Women’s World Cup.

The third pillar of accessibility has seen a strong consideration of stadium accessibility for disabled persons and persons with limited mobility, as well as the utilisation of services such as audio descriptive commentary.

The environment pillar will focus on two areas: emissions and materials.

Nguyen added: “From a materials point-of-view, that commences at the procurement stage and that means we assess what we are bringing into the tournament and building in ways to maximise landfill diversion and minimise contamination.

“From an emissions perspective, FIFA has committed to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework. This has two major timeline targets, namely 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2040. One of the key activities at this tournament has been facilitating and supporting all ten match stadiums to achieve green building certification for their operations.”

Image: TimBray/CC BY-SA 4.0/ Edited for size

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