Sustainability-ESG essence of UEFA EURO 2024



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UEFA releases sustainability strategy for EURO 2024 Image: UEFA

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) recently released its highly anticipated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy for UEFA EURO 2024. With less than a year remaining until the tournament kicks off, this strategy sets the stage for the most sustainable European Championship ever.

‘UEFA’ stated that the vision for UEFA EURO 2024 is to become the global reference for event sustainability in the sports world and a driving force for sustainable development in German and European societies. Together with the German Football Association (DFB) and the public authorities, the UEFA aims to set an example and become a role model for the future events worldwide.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Kazakhstan, as well as some Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

Environmental, social, and corporate governance, also known as environmental, social, governance (ESG), is an approach to investing that recommends taking environmental issues, social issues and governance issues into account when deciding which companies to invest in.

The 2024 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2024 or simply EURO 2024, will be the 17th edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international football championship organized by the UEFA. It will be hosted by Germany from June 4th-July 4th, 2024.

The German Football Association (DFB) is the governing body of football, futsal and beach soccer in Germany. A founding member of FIFA and UEFA, the DFB has jurisdiction for the German football league system and is in charge of the men’s and women’s national teams. The DFB headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

‘UEFA’ further stated that from the very beginning, sustainability has been an integral part of UEFA EURO 2024. The comprehensive ESG strategy encompasses three pillars and focuses on 11 areas of action, supported by 28 topics, 48 targets and 83 key performance indicators (KPIs).
 

Key highlights of the ESG strategy include:

  • Environmental Impact: A strong commitment to reducing the tournament’s environmental footprint, including measures for climate protection and waste management;
  • Climate Fund: Investments in a dedicated Climate Fund to support projects aimed at mitigating emissions related to the tournament;
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Advocating for inclusivity, fighting against discrimination and ensuring the respect and protection of human rights for all participants;
  • Health and Well-being: Promoting physical activity and offering healthy food and beverage options across stadiums and tournament venues;
  • Grassroots Football: Fostering solidarity within the society by strengthening ties with grassroots football and providing support for its development;
  • Responsible Operations: A strong commitment to transparency, responsibility and accountability in all aspects of the tournament’s operations;
  • Knowledge Sharing: Engaging in continuous discussions with stakeholders to share knowledge and promote best practices; and
  • Innovation and Legacy: Collaborating with the Host Cities, partners and football stakeholders to create a sustainable legacy and drive innovation in the industry.

 
The UEFA EURO is one of the world’s largest sporting events, followed by billions of fans across the globe. By setting higher standards in social and environmental sustainability, the UEFA EURO 2024 has the incredible opportunity to lead by example and inspire positive change.

The UEFA European Championship, the third-largest sporting event worldwide, is a major international event followed by billions of football fans across the globe. Taking place every four years, the tournament spreads passion for the game, unifying people and breaking down cultural barriers. In line with increased societal expectations around football needing to accelerate action around social and environmental sustainability, the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament wants to lead by example.

Sustainability has been a fundamental, cross-sectional topic defining UEFA EURO 2024 bidding, organizational setup and decision-making.
 

ESG Action

 

Environment

The UEFA EURO 2024 ambition is to deliver the European Football Championship to the highest sustainability standards. As such, environmental aspects are one of the core priorities for the organisation of the event. As an organizer, the UEFA is aware that the organisation of such a major event – gathering football stakeholders and fans from all over the world involves a significant footprint.

The UEFA is, therefore, determined to be part of the solution to reduce as much as possible its impacts on the environment. While taking climate responsibility, most notably on climate protection and the management of waste, the UEFA knows that this challenge requires a One-Team approach. The European football’s governing body will therefore seek to catalyze action in collaboration with all tournament stakeholders, make substantial investments in a dedicated climate fund connected to German grassroots football infrastructure and raise awareness among football fans on the importance of environmental protection.
 

Social

The UEFA EURO 2024 is all about people and a common passion that brings together individuals of different ages, backgrounds, nationalities, and abilities. The UEFA wants to prevent and fight all forms of discrimination and ensure the rights of all are protected. The UEFA EURO 2024 celebrates diversity and inclusion, ensuring that all social groups, communities and minorities can be a part of it.

Since health and well-being are fundamental to sports, the tournament aims to promote better health and well-being through football activities across all age groups. The UEFA EURO 2024 strives to promote solidarity within the German and European society by fostering ties with grassroots football.
 

Governance

The UEFA EURO 2024 will adopt transparent, responsible and accountable forms of conduct in all its operations. The UEFA will continuously consult and engage with the relevant stakeholders, including around sustainability-related risks, particularly on human rights. As part of its good governance ambitions, the UEFA will endeavor to organize the tournament in compliance with the international human rights principles, while advocating for and promoting human rights and sustainability through training.

Sharing knowledge and good practices in continuous discussions with the stakeholders will benefit the civil society, institutions and the sports industry. The UEFA activities will be actively shared in sustainability-focused communications campaigns. Lastly, the tournament’s impact will be evaluated by an independent study.

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