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Fans Help World Cup Outperform Green Goals

BERLIN, Germany, July 3, 2006 (ENS) - Going into the final week of the month long 2006 FIFA World Cup, greenhouse gas emissions are being held to a minimum, because 70 percent of the fans are coming to matches by means other than private motor cars, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) said today.

The committee originally had hoped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging half of the estimated 3.2 million fans to take public transport.

The fans have exceeded that goal by walking or cycling to matches, and taking trains, buses and coaches, according to the German Police and railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG.

The Oeko-Institute, which is advising the LOC on their environmental program, cites the introduction of the Kombiticket as one reason for the success of the greenhouse gas reduction initiative. The ticket allows spectators to travel free on public transport on match days.

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Hydrogen-powered shuttles were used to transfer members of the media from and to the stadium. (Photo courtesy UNEP)

Horst Schmitt, LOC first vice president, said, "This FIFA World Cup sets up records nearly every day - top viewing figures, visitors at the Fan Festivals and sold out stadiums. That is why we are extremely happy that for the first time we were able to achieve environmental objectives. The share of spectators who leave their cars behind is sensational."

The Green Goal project - originated by the LOC and the German Ministry of the Environment - also is offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from World Cup events with alternative energy projects in India and South Africa.

Officials of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) attending the matches in Berlin called the LOC's Green Goal project a winner.

"Environmental considerations have been making a first and very welcome appearance at a World Cup. And according to initial assessments, they appear to be well on the winning side," said UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Klaus Toepfer, the Green Goal Ambassador and former UNEP Executive Director, said, "We will have to wait until the final whistle to fully gauge the Green Goal’s success. But the various tactics, from those aimed at encouraging public transport to the ones designed to minimize waste, appear to be hitting the net. The only losers so far appear to be car parks with some only half or semi-full."

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Fans entering a World Cup match in Berlin are typical of fans at all the stadia. Few arrived in private cars and they kept the arenas litter-free. (Photo courtesy Institute of Applied Ecology)
Green Goal is reducing waste at the 12 World Cup stadia in cities across Germany in part as a result of ideas like the "Cup of the Cup." In order to avoid waste, fans are required to pay one euro for a special reusable drinks cup. These containers are the only ones allowed inside the grounds. The stalls have stickers and notices explaining that the cups need to be returned and have a deposit on them.

Hartmut Stahl, a scientist at the German Institute of Applied Ecology, has been attending the World Cup matches to observe the effectiveness of the Green Goal project. He says acceptance is "even better than anticipated."

Venues are being operated in new and environmentally friendly ways. Just before the World Cup opened, the Allianz Arena in Munich was awarded the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme certificate for conserving energy, water and resources herever possible. Energy-saving lamps, motion detectors in stairways and the players’ area, and regulated air conditioning controlled by sensors can reduce electricity consumption on non-match days by around 50 percent and on match days by 20 percent.

Stahl says many environmentally friendly features of the venues are not obvious to fans. "There are water-free urinals, overflow limiters on the wash-basins and electricity-saving measures, which are all things that save resources but go virtually unnoticed. The fans also don't get to see the solar panels on the stadiums, which is a shame."

UNEP's Steiner says the World Cup's Green Goal can serve as a model for other large public events. "I hope and am confident that the ideas and strategies put in place for this tournament can be adapted and developed for other mass audience events from football to pop concerts. I think the Local Organizing Committee, the Oeko Institute and the companies involved should be given a big hand, maybe a Mexican wave, for conceiving this first ever Green Goal."



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