UEFA is making a contribution to fighting climate change and protecting the environment by enlisting a carbon management and reduction company to measure, reduce and offset the carbon footprint associated with UEFA's necessary air travel. The proposed one-year emissions reduction trial was given the go-ahead by UEFA's Executive Committee at its recent meeting in Bordeaux.
Air travel source
UEFA's major source of greenhouse gas emissions is air travel. The carbon footprint from flights taken during the 2007 calendar year was 20,617.811 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). This is comparable to approximately 2,850,000,000 footballs filled with carbon dioxide, which would cover around 14,700 football fields. UEFA has measured the climate impact of its travel and will address this over the course of the next 12 months, primarily through the purchase of internationally recognised renewable energy carbon credits. "We all know what it's like to play on a bad football pitch, imagine a future where we can no longer afford to turn on sprinklers or where the ground is perennially covered in water," said UEFA communications director William Gaillard.
Europe is already feeling the effects of climate change. The 2007 wildfires in Greece and flooding in Moldova were important reminders of the threat which climate change poses. While UEFA has helped rebuild football fields and stadiums lost in these disasters, it also recognises the importance of trying to prevent these from occurring in the first place. "Climate change means more frequent floods and droughts; essential community infrastructure like power and water being destroyed; food becoming more expensive; and political, economic, social and environmental stability being threatened, making it near impossible for football to flourish. We have therefore decided to help the planet on which it is played and the communities that keep it alive," Gaillard continued.
UEFA has chosen to partner the carbon management company, Climate Friendly, to take voluntary action against climate change. Climate Friendly is a founding member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) and works with the World Wide Fund for Nature to offset all of that organisation's flights globally. By calculating its carbon footprint from flights and buying high quality, renewable energy carbon offsets from accredited wind farm projects, UEFA can compensate for some of the damage that its air travel causes. The projects are located in developing countries and verified by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) systems to ensure that they have real climate benefits.
Climate Friendly CEO Freddy Sharpe said: "Often the first step toward addressing your climate impact is the most important. It means acknowledging and valuing the environment and consciously doing something positive about it. UEFA is setting an important example to the entire football community." Based on fuel consumption, Climate Friendly quantifies the impact of each airline flight in CO2 equivalents, then organises for businesses to compensate the carbon emissions they generate through an equivalent contribution to certified projects that create clean energy.
UEFA will be promoting this initiative among its networks and encouraging fans, players and the rest of the football community to think about what they can do. These unavoidable emissions can be offset using renewable energy carbon credits. UEFA will purchase high quality credits which adhere to the VCS.
To find out more about what you can do to make a difference, visit climatefriendly.com.
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