UEFA has committed to join the UN Race to Zero campaign, committing to a reduction of greenhouse gases emissions across its events by 2030.
The move to sign up to the UN-backed Race to Zero version of the Sports for Climate Action Framework follows the launch of the UEFA Sustainability Strategy 2030 last month.
UEFA is one of the founding signatories of Sports for Climate Action Framework, which aims at supporting and guiding sports actors in achieving global climate change goals.
A renewed ambition of Sports for Climate Action was launched at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021 and is fully aligned with UEFA’s Sustainability Strategy, which shares the same goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 – in view of achieving net zero carbon by 2040 within UEFA, across UEFA events and collaboratively across European football.
“Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing society today and we have unfortunately witnessed how flooding and unseasonable weather patterns have lately devastated infrastructure across the world,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
“The transition to a thriving, green economy is imperative and UEFA must be part of the solution. Football can play an important role in implementing new standards in this respect and raising awareness across the globe.
“We commit to Race to Zero as part of our 2030 ambition to reduce European football’s carbon footprint.”
Race to Zero, which is backed by the UN, is a global campaign that aims to rally non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to work towards achieving net zero carbon in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets.
All Race to Zero signatories are committed to the same overarching goal: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2040 or earlier.
Lindita Xhaferi Salihu, Sectoral Engagement Lead (Sport for Climate Action) at UN Climate Change, said: “We congratulate UEFA for joining the high-ambition track of Sports for Climate Action Framework. By committing to the ambitious and robust goals put forward in the Framework, UEFA joins the UN backed Race to Zero campaign. Just like in football, addressing climate change requires leadership, resilience and teamwork and we look forward to working with UEFA to apply these standards on the field and outside of stadium.”
“In many ways, football requires the same skills that we will need to address the climate crisis: perseverance, agility, and a truly collaborative ‘whole team’ approach. I welcome UEFA to the Race to Zero campaign, and encourage all football stakeholders to become climate champions, taking immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030. Together, we can win the Race to Zero emissions,” added Nigel Topping, COP 26 High-Level Champion for Climate Action.
Respect for the environment, which focuses on climate and advocacy, the circular economy, event sustainability and infrastructure sustainability, features prominently in UEFA’s recently published Football Sustainability Strategy 2030.
By launching this strategy in December, UEFA is determined to be part of the solution to preserve and regenerate the environment and leverage the power of football to raise awareness and catalyse action.
In order to help achieve its aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2040, UEFA will most notably measure the environmental impact of all UEFA events by 2024; encourage clubs and member associations to measure impacts of domestic competitions; and work toward embedding climate criteria in UEFA regulations, policies and guidelines.
“We have a great responsibility to the millions of footballers and fans and we feel it all. Our actions and decisions have a huge impact on civil society and we have to take care of it as an important part of the game of football,” said UEFA’s director of social responsibility, Michele Uva. “Through our strategy, we would like to accelerate our actions to encourage and engage our stakeholders across Europe to prevent and reduce the degradation of the environment by football-related activities, while leveraging football’s reach and visibility to advocate for the urgency of action.”
Aside from partnering with the Sports for Climate Action Framework, UEFA is also a supporter of the European Climate Pact, which invites communities and organisations to help the European Union achieve the Green Deal and Europe’s transition to an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.