Starting at the 2022 UEFA Champions League final this weekend, UEFA and PepsiCo will begin to carry out circular economy practices centred around the 4Rs Framework (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover) outlined in UEFA’s Football Sustainability Strategy 2030. The data collected will be analysed and used to define a baseline for improvement actions that will ultimately form the basis of UEFA’s Guidelines for Circular Economy in food and beverage in football matches.
The circular economy practices that will be tested include menu boards with environmental information to provide visibility on the climate impact of foods. PepsiCo will move to, reusable eco cups across all selling points and all PepsiCo brands will use recycled plastic (rPET) bottles made with between 25% and 100% recycled plastic. There will also be a strong focus on recycling across events including for aluminium cans and glass bottles and ‘Please Recycle’ messaging will continue to be featured on Pepsi perimeter LED boards on the pitch to remind fans to recycle.
The project, which 10 clubs are participating in during this UEFA Champions League season, has already led to the creation of a database of best practices and the formation of a consultation group among clubs to share knowledge and discuss common challenges, and a feasibility analysis for practical implementation of selected practices in two pilot stadiums.
Zero Waste to Landfill
UEFA is also aiming to introduce a new pilot initiative, ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’, at the UEFA Champions League final in London in 2024. The overall goal is for this to be regularly implemented from 2026, with zero waste to landfill becoming a requirement included in the selection of the hosting stadium, and across all UEFA events over the following years.
Michele Uva, in the picture, UEFA football & social responsibility director: “The circular economy is an important pillar of UEFA’s Sustainability strategy. Working with PepsiCo to assess aspects of the food & beverage circularity pilot project at the world’s biggest club competition match, is an important step in UEFA’s mission to inspire, activate and accelerate collective action to protect the environment within the context of European football. UEFA’s program will soon see the drafting of a practical UEFA guide to approaching the circular economy at any level in football. The data we collect will be invaluable to help us achieve zero plastic waste and food waste – within UEFA, across UEFA events and collaboratively across European football.”
The collaboration aligns with PepsiCo’s end-to-end sustainability transformation, PepsiCo Positive (pep+), which puts sustainability at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. As one of the world’s most respected food and beverage companies, PepsiCo aims to use its reach and influence to help change the way society makes, uses and disposes of packaging, and has taken a multi-pronged approach to implement innovative packaging solutions, cut virgin plastics and improve packaging to ensure it’s recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable.
Jim Andrew, executive vice president & chief sustainability officer, PepsiCo: “Our partnership with UEFA has already driven positive change for both people and the planet through projects which both minimise the impact on the environment and also benefit our communities. Now, we are bringing our collective action to inspire and activate the global football community as we deliver on our vision of a world where packaging never becomes waste. Work is already underway to implement a circular approach to our packaging at UEFA events but we’re not stopping there as we plan for the first zero waste to landfill UEFA Champions League final in 2024 in London.”
The implementation is part of the F&B Circularity Project, a collaboration between UEFA and PepsiCo, which aims to maintain data gathering, stakeholder consultation, guidelines update and circular economy practices implementation to support the UEFA Champions League transition to circular food and beverage practices.
The F&B Circularity project aligns with UEFA’s Circular Economy Policy, which targets to embed the 4Rs approach in all operations to minimise the impact of football on the environment and drive resource efficiency and cost savings by 2030.
UEFA also recently signed a sustainability-based Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
For more information about UEFA’s role in creating a more sustainable future, click here.