With sustainability at the heart of preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) is on track to achieve its commitment to deliver the first-ever carbon neutral FIFA World Cup and leave a legacy of climate action for Qatar and the region.
Carbon neutrality is the achievement of net zero carbon emissions. This is normally achieved by reducing emissions as much as possible before balancing the remaining emissions with the purchase of carbon credits.
The SC’s efforts in achieving carbon neutrality have resulted in two FIFA World Cup stadiums receiving top sustainability ratings this year. In January, Education City Stadium became the first tournament venue to receive a five-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) before Al Bayt Stadium achieved the same five-star GSAS rating in late July.
As promised in the original bid to host the next FIFA World Cup, solar energy will contribute to powering the tournament. Qatar’s national utility company, Kahramaa, is currently developing a large-scale 800MW solar energy plant on a 10km2 plot. Once the tournament concludes, the plant will continue to produce clean renewable energy for decades, leaving a significant legacy as a carbon reduction project.
“Our efforts in achieving carbon neutrality for Qatar 2022 remain on course,” said Bodour Al-Meer, the SC’s Sustainability & Environment Senior Manager. “We are excited with the progress Kahramaa has made with the solar power plant and achieving the highest GSAS ratings on our latest stadium projects are important milestones. While there is plenty more to achieve, we are pleased that our carbon neutral planning has started producing results.”
Achieving stringent sustainability benchmarks for all Qatar 2022 projects has required the SC to implement a carbon neutral plan. This includes using workshops and summits to raise awareness with stakeholders, and organisations working on the tournament, about the importance of sustainability and carbon neutrality. The SC has also partnered with Qatar’s national conservation programme, Tarsheed, to deliver carbon reduction programmes in local schools. This provides education on how to improve environmental performance and manage carbon emissions.
The plan also includes preparing a detailed carbon inventory, in partnership with FIFA, which will result in a carbon footprint report estimating all emissions related to Qatar 2022.
A key part of the four-step plan is the mitigation or reduction of carbon emissions during stadium construction. This includes reusing and recycling water and materials, installing highly efficient cooling systems, using renewable energy like solar photovoltaic panels for stadium lighting and landscaping stadium parklands with native trees and plants.
Along with the solar power plant, the SC’s carbon emission reduction initiatives include the staging of a compact FIFA World Cup. No internal air travel will be required during the tournament, and the public transportation network, including Doha Metro and electric buses, will transport fans to tournament venues.
Any excess carbon emissions from Qatar 2022 will be offset by projects in both the public and private sector. To achieve this, the SC supported the establishment of the Global Carbon Council (GCC), which has been tasked with identifying quality projects to offset carbon emissions. The GCC platform will leave an institutional legacy for climate action in Qatar and the region.
“We hope that our carbon neutral plan for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 guides all stakeholders and organisations on how they can contribute to meeting Qatar’s climate action commitments, as outlined under the Paris Agreement,” said Shashi Prakash, the SC’s Sustainability & Carbon Subject Matter Expert. “The legacy we want to leave is not just having delivered a carbon neutral FIFA World Cup™, but as having significantly contributed to climate action in Qatar and the Middle East.”