Qatar has ambitious plans for the future of its nation. Growing and diversifying their economy and investing in their people are at the core of those plans, as is, no less importantly, protecting and sustaining a healthy environment. Their National Vision outlines the country’s goals and provides a framework within which to achieve those goals by 2030. The National Vision is supported by four main pillars of development, of which, one pillar is devoted to environmental development. So, it is no surprise that in complying with FIFA’s requirements for an environmentally sustainable World Cup, Qatar was on the ball.
The bid for the World Cup outlined Qatar’s commitment to embedding environmental sustainability into the preparations for, and in the hosting of the World Cup in 2022. They pledged to incorporate environmentally sustainable design into the facilities and infrastructure built for the tournament; to drive innovative solutions to help address critical environmental issues; and, to educate their citizens to be more environmentally aware. With these undertakings, Qatar hopes to deliver an environmental legacy that will span generations.
Each of the new stadiums and associated venues for the World Cup has been designed and built to strict key performance indicators, to:
- Reduce energy and water usage;
- Increase the use of sustainable materials used in construction;
- Reduce construction waste and divert waste produced away from landfill;
- Increase the amount of energy produced from renewables;
- Reduce or offset carbon emissions.
A commitment has also been agreed to ensure that all of the stadiums comply with the sustainability goals of the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS)*, and achieve certification.
To achieve their sustainability goals, the stadiums and associated World Cup venues are designed and built to incorporate:
- Solar energy technology:
- To power cooling technologies,
- To provide power to the stadiums when in use, and to feed into the Grid when the stadiums are not in use,
- To offset carbon emissions.
- Innovative cooling technologies that consume less energy and generate fewer carbon emissions than traditional technologies.
- Water recycling facilities that reuse wastewater generated onsite, i.e. to irrigate the surrounding landscape, flush toilets, etc.
- Energy-efficient lighting and water-efficient features.
- Sustainable and innovative building materials.
- Waste management plans for the construction and operation of the buildings.
In addition, to reduce stadium seating capacity, the modular elements of each will be removed. This will ensure that the remaining stadiums reflect the needs of the country, and that valuable resources are not wasted on the upkeep of unnecessary real estate. The excess infrastructure will be reused to create a sporting infrastructure elsewhere.
Designing and constructing buildings that are fit for purpose and sustainable will generate obvious environmental legacy benefits, such as reduced energy and water consumption, reduced waste, reduced carbon emissions, etc. However, in committing to such high environmental standards, Qatar is also setting a standard for the industry and an example to future World Cup hosts.
Qatar has been vocal in its goal of hosting the World first carbon-neutral World Cup. One way in which they hope to achieve this is through the construction of a brand new Metro and light rail service, country-wide upgrades to major road systems, and by expanding and improving their public transport services.
The compact nature of the country means than travel to and from stadiums and associated venues during the World Cup will be comparatively short compared to other host nations. As such, the carbon footprint associated with travel during the World Cup will be naturally smaller. However, Qatar wants to go further - much further.
The new Metro and light rail system will extend across Doha and beyond in every direction - to Lusail in the north, Al Wakra in the south and Al Riffa in the west. Metro stations stop at or are within walking distance of each World Cup stadium, and they provide easy access to the majority of other World Cup venues. The Metro also provides access to and from the country’s International Airport. The new road system will provide a major road network that frees up inner-city roads. The new road network is also aligned with the new World Cup infrastructure, making access by road easily achievable. The public transport system will provide links between the Metro stations and the rest of the country. Many public services will run on clean fuels, providing another tick towards Qatar’s carbon-neutral goal.
The benefits of such initiatives will be obvious during the World Cup, but their legacy will extend far beyond the tournament. Locally, reduced traffic on the roads and the use of more environmentally friendly transport modes will see a reduction in congestion, travel times, energy consumption and its associated costs, pollution and its negative health effects. On a wider scale, reductions in carbon emissions will reduce the direct and indirect impacts on local, regional and worldwide communities.
Education is one of the key motivators of change. In conjunction with the 2022 World Cup, Qatar is using educational projects and programmes, targeting young people and communities, to increase its citizens:
- Awareness of environmental issues;
- Knowledge of the opportunities available to help mitigate those issues.
Tarseed 22 (T22)
T22 is a joint project between The Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, responsible for delivering the World Cup in 2022, and KAHRAMAA, the country’s General Electricity and Water Corporation. The project aims to educate children in local schools about the importance of water and energy conservation. And, to give them practical techniques to save energy and water at school, at home and within their communities. The project uses football to drive the key messages home in a fun and engaging way. The project also provides a multitude of online resources for teaching, hosts competitions to encourage participation, and involves several practical initiatives to help schools reduce their energy and water usage (i.e. energy audits, retrofitting energy and water-saving devices, etc.).
Environmental Case Study Challenge
The Case Study Challenge initiative, delivered under the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, invited teams of high school and university students to create a marketing campaign to mobilise the country’s youth to engage with environmental protection projects. Each team was tasked with creating their campaign around a pressing environmental issue in Qatar. Scholarships were available to the top four teams.
The key legacy goal of these and other educational programmes is to create a generation of young people who are more environmentally aware, and who are equipped to take responsibility for their environment now and into the future.
The Al Rayyan Stadium is the fifth World Cup stadium in Qatar to reach completion, and its inauguration couldn’t be held on a more auspicious day.
Qatar aims to deliver an amazing World Cup, delighting fans and attracting new supporters. Even more important, however, is the event legacy - how Qatar will use the power of the football to benefit society beyond the game?
By implementing tailored initiatives, Qatar aims to stimulate the country’s sporting industry and improve access to sports for all.
Qatar aims at strengthening local, regional and global unity, promoting healthier lifestyles, and increasing opportunities for all in sports, education and employment.