South Africa moves to make 2010 more green | WWF South Africa

South Africa moves to make 2010 more green

Posted on 16 May 2010
Kids playing soccer.
© Michel Gunther/WWF
The world has come to South Africa! The excitement is palpable. The 2010 FIFA World Cup of course poses a wonderful opportunity for South Africa to showcase our impressive vuvuzelas and colourful mirror flags, but more than this, it is an opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of our country.

But like any major fixture involving large crowds of people and infrastructure there is a cost: the environmental impact. One feasibility study found that the 2010 event will generate a staggering 2.8 million tons of carbon emissions, largely due to the long-haul air travel. This is nearly 10 times the amount produced during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

South Africa has faced up to its ecological obligations by taking a number of measures to limit these impacts. Clearly that not only makes good sense from an environmental perspective, but also from a reputational one.

The national Green Goal 2010 Programme was launched last November, with all of the nine host cities pledging their support. The programme being led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the World Cup is modelled on the 2006 Green Goal initiative in Germany.

World Cup Local Organising Committee CEO, Danny Jordaan, has said that the green initiative will focus on limiting the event’s impact on the environment, as well as general environmental improvement of the host cities in the form of waste management, water conservation and the planting of trees.

The City of Cape Town launched its own Green Goal 2010 Action Plan in October 2008. As part of this plan, the first phase of the integrated rapid transit (IRT) system will be in place for the start of the World Cup, while a new bicycle and pedestrian route is also being constructed around the stadium as part of the larger non-motorised transport network.

Other greening measures include biodegradable packaging for takeaways, separate bins for recyclable and non-recyclable litter at the fan parks and stadiums, installation of water-saving devices at stadiums and the promotion of non-motorised transport.

These are all worthwhile and commendable initiatives, but probably the single biggest environmental concern of the World Cup remains the carbon footprint. The government aims to try minimise this by encouraging visitors to cycle or make use of public transport, while also launching carbon offset programmes.

Nevertheless the World Cup will have a huge carbon footprint. WWF encourages all visitors to act responsibly by using water sparingly, buying local products and using public transport.

Visitors to South Africa’s famous winelands should support wines from farms that are members of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative which works to conserve the Cape Floral Kingdom (see

All seafood lovers should ensure that they ask for sustainable choices of seafood (see our SASSI guide).

The World Cup provides the opportunity for thousands of people to fall in love with our beautiful nation. We hope that visitors enjoying our country’s many national parks and nature reserves will consider donating money back into conservation.

Kids playing soccer.
© Michel Gunther/WWF Enlarge