'Greening' the 2010 FIFA world cup: Environmental sustainability and the mega-event in South Africa

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Event greening of major spectacles such as the Olympics, World Cups and large international conferences are increasingly common. The 2010 South African World Cup sought to develop a 'Green Goal 2010' programme that would mitigate some of the environmental impacts of the event, as well as secure a positive social, economic and environmental legacy. While the content of the Green Goal programmes varied between host cities, some innovative and significant projects were implemented, ranging from waste management and recycling, to biodiversity protection and city beautification, to public transport upgrades and energy efficiency measures at the stadiums. In the broader context of the most carbon-intensive World Cup ever, however, such mitigation efforts were relatively piecemeal. The greatest opportunity the World Cup provided was for its visibility, branding and communication potential to catalyse greater environmental awareness and a stronger commitment to ecological modernization. Due to lack of coordination and national leadership, this opportunity was largely missed. The article concludes by recommending a number of core lessons, as well as some further opportunities, that can be taken from the South African 2010 experience. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-117
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Ecological modernization
  • FIFA world cup
  • Green goal 2010
  • Mega-event
  • South Africa


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