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A Sustainable World Cup

Brazil hosts an all-time best World Cup and confirms its position as a global champion of sustainability

Brazil built sustainable stadiums and compensated by nearly ten times for the greenhouse gas emissions generated during the 2014 World Cup / Photo: Paul rsmenezes

The whole world knows that, in 2014, Brazil hosted an all-time best World Cup. What is less well-known is that Brazil was the only country in the world to adopt a greenhouse gas compensation target for a big event even before it started. More significantly, Brazil achieved this goal with flying colors.

The Brazil offset by almost ten times the projections for the direct emissions of greenhouse gases that would be generated as a result of 2014 World Cup activities. The scorecard shows that there were 545,500 tons of carbon equivalent (a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential)) versus 59,200 tons that were estimated for activities such as construction, energy use in the stadiums and the use of official vehicles.

Compensation was brought about using carbon credit donations that were made in response to a three-month public appeal from Brazil’s Environment Ministry. Sixteen companies come forward to donate their UN-issued Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) credits. CERs are carbon-offset certificates that are acquired as a result of emission reduction projects implemented in developing countries. Each CER is equivalent to an emissions reduction of one ton of CO2 equivalent. CER holders may use their certificates to offset their own carbon emissions as a way of achieving Kyoto Agreement emissions reduction targets.


Record collection of solid waste

The 2014 World Cup was also one for the record books in terms of solid waste collection for recycling. Recycling cooperatives were out in force in the 12 event stadiums to recover and separate wastes left behind by fans during the matches. In the city of Fortaleza alone, 90 tons of waste were collected from Castelão Stadium, its grass, and the Iracema Beach embankment, where a Fan Fest was held. These activities involved 350 collectors from 17 institutions. The collection of waste from Castelão helped save the equivalent of 1,879 cubic meters of water, 5 tons of sand, 566 trees, 1 ton of coal, 166 MWh of electricity, 9 tons of iron ore and 121 barrels of oil.

Stadiums were LEED certified

Seven of the 12 stadiums that were built or refurbished for the 2014 World Cup received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification as constructions that demonstrate the adoption of sustainability concepts.

For example, in the state of Minas Gerais, in the city of Belo Horizonte, solar panels were installed on Mineirão Stadium’s roof, enabling it to capture solar energy and turn it into enough electricity to power 1,200 average-sized homes. The lumber that was taken from the surrounding areas of the stadium were reused by local artisans for the production of popular art.

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, renovations carried out on the city of Porto Alegre’s Beira-Rio Stadium included a soil and air pollution prevention plan that would reduce the effects of construction activities by controlling soil erosion, the silting of waterways and the generation of dust in the vicinity.

In the state of Ceará, Castelão Stadium in the city of Fortaleza has an air conditioning system that does not use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant, which is significant as CFCs are responsible for the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer.

In the state of Amazonas, the turf on the pitch at the Arena da Amazônia in the city of Manaus has an automated sprinkler system that uses rainwater, which is collected and stored in seven large reservoirs.

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