Greener Goals: How Soccer is Developing Sustainable Development Goals



As the world changes and the climate crisis continues to grow, sustainability is no longer a buzzword or marketing strategy. It is a necessary and urgent matter that needs addressing and the sports world needs to step up.


Soccer is a sports juggernaut. 4 billion fans, 250 million players and a strong foothold in 211 member associations make soccer the biggest sport in the world, by far. This means that soccer has an outsized impact on the world and with this impact comes the responsibility to act and be a leader in the sustainability movement. How can soccer as a whole do this?


  1. Leadership and Stewardship from a Soccer Organizational Level Leadership happens at all levels but it is most expected from the executive level of organizations. In this regard, soccer is making great strides. FIFA has long been an advocate for green initiatives and this year is taking its commitment to a whole new level. The 2022 Qatar World Cup will be the first carbon-neutral World Cup and if they can pull it off, it will be a major achievement. Everything from the stadiums (which some are to be built out of reused shipping containers) to the location of the event are all meant to impact the carbon output of the tournament.

  2. Innovation and Development from a Soccer Club and Business Level Soccer clubs and businesses need to embrace the changing landscape of soccer by becoming advocates and innovators in the sustainability space. So far, many of them have risen to the challenge.

  3. Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam is powered by a wind turbine, 4200 solar panels and has its grass clippings brought to a goat farm to feed the goats that provide cheese for the arena. Talk about hitting greener goals!

  4. What is a massive sustainability problem at soccer events? Disposable cups! Manchester City Football Club is looking to change all this with an edible coffee cup that is made of a delicious wafer!

  5. Desire and Engagement from the Soccer Fan Level This desire already exists in sports fans, in a big way! 69% of young sports fans are in support of environmental change and expect brands and sports companies to engage in activities that improve the environment.

  6. Organizations like Greenfoot are working towards helping soccer clubs reach their sustainability goals. This includes helping develop crowd-funding tools as ways to achieve their environmental targets.

  7. Texas A&M has done research that has found that fans are positive and engage with initiatives that decrease their personal environmental impact as well as the impact of the sports event they attend. This is done through educational campaigns that teach the use of mass transit, recycling/waste recovery programs and even purchasing carbon offsets to reduce their overall impact.

  8. Football4Climate is another organization that is spreading awareness by encouraging clubs to measure, report and reduce their emissions and carbon footprint.


Upright City and Soccer Sustainability


Soccer has always been a force for good in the world and now it has the opportunity to have an even greater impact. Upright City is dedicated to helping grow and develop soccer, its culture and business.


We collaborate with our partners to help nurture and expand the soccer community through a multitude of campaigns and initiatives. Our mission is to help you build and grow the footprint of soccer in every region we work. Reach out to Upright City today and sign up for our newsletter to see how our partnership will add value to you and your soccer organization.





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