Qatar on track to host most sustainable World Cup: Official

Qatar is making huge progress with its sustainability strategies and is on track to host the most sustainable World Cup ever, an official has said. 

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the inaugural annual Talk Green conference being held as part of the Qatar Sustainability Week yesterday, Abdulrahman Al Muftah, Sustainability Specialist at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), said all the initiatives under Qatar’s World Cup Sustainability Strategy have already reached good levels of implementation. 

“We’re on track to hosting the most sustainable World Cup ever. We are in some areas achieving faster progress than others. But we’re working in achieving all targets for each pillar. All of the initiatives have reached good levels, and hopefully by next year we’ll reach even better results,” he added. 

Qatar’s World Cup strategy, developed by the SC with FIFA and Q22, focuses on five pillars of Human, Social, Economic, Governance, and Environmental sustainability. 

According to Al Muftah, who was one of the key speakers at the event, one of the first things addressed in the strategy was to create an impact on the workers’ welfare as part of the Human pillar. 

“We built a workers’ welfare department to ensure good standards for the living and working conditions of the workers. We also looked at workforce development and established the Josoor Institute and Tamreen programmes.” 

Speaking about the strategy’s Social pillar, Al Muftah said: “We wanted to ensure that all of our stadiums are accessible for everyone. At least 1 percent of our seats are reserved for people with special needs or disabilities. On inclusivity, we also want to ensure there’s cultural understanding between all attendees of the tournament, in addition to ensuring their safety and security”. 

The hospitality sector also plays a crucial role in the successful hosting of a sustainable World Cup. Al Muftah reiterated that SC was also working with the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) and Qatar Tourism in integrating the “Green Key” programme to ensure that the country’s hospitality sector is working more efficiently as it welcomes tourists and visitors from across the world during the tournament. 

The Green Key, which is implemented by the QGBC in Qatar, is a leading international standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation with the tourism industry. 

Also speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the event, QGBC Director Eng. Meshal Al Shammari said there are 12 hotels in Qatar which are currently Green Key certified, and 20 more hotels, which are mostly 5-star and 4-star hotels, are now in the pipeline to be Green Key certified by next year.  “The Green Key programme is achieving good levels. We have 12 Green Key certified hotels and 20 more in the pipeline.

Eng. Meshal Al Shammari added, “Most of the 5-star hotels are joining, but it’s a bit challenging maybe for the 2 to 3-star hotels. So we are focusing on the 4 to 5-star hotels. We also developed the eco-event, which is an eco-event certification. For the World Cup, you won’t just have green stadiums, but all the operations and events will also be conducted in a green manner.” 

The upcoming World Cup also seeks to bring economic sustainability to the local and regional economy, said Al Muftah. As part of the strategy, local and regional businesses are given priority to become FIFA World Cup 2022 suppliers. However, the number of local businesses involved in the World Cup is still unspecified, said Al Muftah, when asked for the actual figures. 

“We still don’t get everything locally, because we also have scarcity for some requirements. But it’s all about prioritising. If there’s something available locally, even if it costs more we will go for it. This happened with the stadium seats. We built a company here to supply all the seats, which reduced our carbon emissions from transportation, and helped improve the local economy,” added Al Muftah. 

He went on to highlight Qatar’s sustainable stadiums and reiterated their long-term community and business use, as well as the progress being made in the sustainable procurement of all World Cup requirements. Qatar’s World Cup will also be sustainably managed in line with the requirements of the ISO 20121, he added, while reiterating strict compliance with anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices as part of the Governance pillar. 

“It will be a carbon neutral tournament, and we will measure, mitigate and offset all FIFA World Cup emissions, while advancing low-carbon solutions in Qatar and the region. We will offset by investing in green projects, locally, regionally, and across the world post-tournament,” he added. In his presentation earlier, Al Muftah also discussed Qatar’s sustainability strategy in the Environmental pillar, which includes sustainable buildings, GHG emissions, waste generation, air quality, and water production and use.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar