The potential for this year’s FIFA World Cup to boost environmental sustainability in Qatar and across the region was highlighted during the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Plastics Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Speaking during a special address, Eng. Bodour Al Meer, Sustainability Director, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy would maximise the tournament’s impact while supporting the objectives of both Qatar National Vision 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy reported.
“Our preparations started over a decade ago,” said Al Meer. “We have spent the last 12 years planning, building and testing our operations to make sure the event will be a truly amazing experience for everyone – and critical to the event’s success is sustainability. It has been a core value for the FIFA World Cup ever since the bid to host the event was put forward.”
While highlighting the vital role petrochemicals and chemicals play in the delivery of mega-events – along with the challenges they pose – Al Meer said the industry can influence sustainable practices by encouraging fans, sponsors, and other stakeholders to act.
Al Meer went on to share success stories during recent sporting events in Qatar, including the FIFA Arab Cup, where tournament organisers ran special projects to reduce waste – particularly single-use plastics. During the tournament, which ran from 30 November to 18 December, zero waste was sent to landfill, while 70% of waste from Al Bayt Stadium was successfully recycled.
“The meals for our workforce were served from buffets rather than standard packaged meals and we used refillable five-gallon jugs for water rather than single-use plastic bottles,” explained Al Meer.
Al Meer also discussed the One Tide programme, a joint-campaign between the SC and Seven Clean Seas which aims to prevent plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. A key initiative is to neutralise the amount of plastic waste generated during the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ thanks to raising awareness, recycling, waste reduction, and offsetting.
“We are supporting and using the plastics credit system to fund the removal of plastic waste in the natural environment as a way to compensate for the plastic waste that will be generated during the World Cup. Plastic credits are a way to monetise clean-up efforts and other initiatives to reduce plastic waste. Our programme is currently supporting a clean-up project at an Indonesian island – so we are creating jobs and a better environment.”
During her closing remarks, Al Meer vowed that with close collaboration, the FIFA World Cup can revolutionise sustainability in the sporting and mega-events industries.
“Sport, and football in particular, has a unique capacity to inspire and spark the passion of millions of fans around the globe. Hosting the FIFA World Cup is a precious opportunity that we must not waste. We must work together to deliver a sustainable legacy for our region.”