Euro 2024 turns woke: UEFA adopts 2030 Agenda, will prioritize ESG criteria in the tournament

The soccer confederation will promote environmental, social and corporate governance factors with the aim of making the tournament "the reference for the sustainability of events in the world of sport."

This Friday, the UEFA Euro 2024 begins, one of the most anticipated sporting events of this year. The 24 best national teams in Europe are scheduled to meet in Germany starting June 14 to fight for the title that crowns them champions of the continent's highest soccer competition. Although the tournament is mostly about the players and teams playing, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has wanted to place special importance on some aspects that are gaining momentum with the passage of time: the factors environmental, social and corporate governance, or, as they are commonly known, ESG criteria.

The confederation that organizes the Euro reminded fans and stakeholders of its strategy based on ESG criteria that it will implement during the month of the competition:

The UEFA EURO 2024 vision is to be the reference for event sustainability in the world of sports and a driving force for sustainable development for German and European societies. With this holistic concept, UEFA aims to contribute to making UEFA EURO 2024 the most sustainable European Championship of all time, and in partnership with the German Football Association (DFB) and the public authorities a role model for global events of its kind.

"Full alignment" with the 2030 Agenda

Aside from this introduction, UEFA, in statements given by Director of UEFA Social and Environmental Sustainability Michele Uva, did not show any hesitancein recognizing that any ESG measure it carries out will be based on the 17 Goals of Sustainable Development (SDG), also known as the 2030 Agenda, established by the Assembly of the United Nations (U.N.) in 2015:

In line with increased societal expectations around football needing to accelerate action around social and environmental sustainability, this is our chance to lead by example by delivering the tournament to the highest sustainability standards. Through the targeted investments and measures presented in our strategic approach, we have built the foundation to contribute to the tournament’s legacy, in full alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Uefa Euro 2024 Esg Strategy by Williams Perdomo

Similar words were those issued by German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser:

I’m so pleased that we’ll be organi[z]ing a sustainable EURO 2024 in tune with these values. Together with the DFB and UEFA, the regions and host cities, we’ve agreed on this shared understanding. We’ve set ourselves common goals that everyone is working on under their own responsibility. I therefore welcome the fact that UEFA also wants to set standards for a sustainable tournament with its environmental, social and governance strategy for the EURO in Germany.

UEFA's ESG strategy

After recognizing that they will align with U.N. goals, UEFA outlined that the measures to be implemented in the Euro are not far off those stipulated in the 2030 Agenda. There are eight principles that will govern the organization's ESG strategy for the competition: human rights, legacy, respect and responsibility, inclusion and equitable participation, integrity, transparency, flexibility and innovation, and viability and cost awareness.

In addition, UEFA listed a series of measures to fulfill its vision of being the "reference for event sustainability in the world of sports":

-Reducing the impact on the environment, including in the areas of climate protection and waste management.
-Investing in a climate fund dedicated to projects focused on mitigating unavoidable tournament-related emissions.
-Preventing and fighting all forms of discrimination, ensuring the rights of all are respected and protected.
-Advocating for physical activity and offering healthy food and beverage options across stadiums and tournament venues.
-Promoting solidarity within German and European society by fostering ties with and supporting grassroots football.
-Adopting transparent, responsible and accountable forms of conduct in the event’s operations.
-Sharing knowledge and good practices in continuous discussions with stakeholders.
-Cooperating and innovating with host cities, partners and other football stakeholders to shape a sustainable legacy
.

Regarding environmental factors, several of UEFA's objectives during the tournament are to reduce carbon emissions, promote recycling and minimize unnecessary consumption of water or electricity, among others.

Regarding social factors, the confederation is focused on ensuring that discriminatory episodes do not occur, whether due to race, gender or other criteria, as well as promoting inclusion and diversity, good health habits with different measures related to food or sports, and supporting charitable and philanthropic organizations and causes.

Finally, measures linked to corporate governance factors will be aimed at economic transparency and promoting education. In addition, UEFA committed to publishing an ESG report after the conclusion of the Euro, which will reflect whether or not it has met its objectives.