Sausages being blamed for the World Cup`s carbon footprint


Sausages blamed for its contribution to the World Cup carbon footprint. Photo credit: mali maeder via Pexels.

By Anders Lorenzen 

The World Cup is with us, which means that the sale of sausages is set to go through the roof as it is one of the most popular food options sold at football stadiums. But, according to research conducted by nutrition retailer NU3, this also vastly contributes to the carbon footprint of one of the world’s largest sports tournaments.

They found that during the World Cup an average match sees the consumption of approximately 24,650 sausages, with a carbon footprint of 3,056.6 kg of CO2 emissions. But looking across the entire duration of the World Cup, which spans four weeks, that carbon footprint rises significantly to 195,433 kgs of CO2 emissions. And, to put that into context, it would take 1,934 hectares of Amazon rainforest a full year to soak up the CO2 emissions released.


Infographic by Kirstie Wielandt. 

The research is a part of their larger study, the Food Carbon Footprint Index which was released earlier this year. That study compared CO2 emissions for 130 countries worldwide based on dietary habits. As the environmental impacts of our eating habits are receiving ever more attention, and the 2018 World Cup is now in full flow, the company wanted to further the debate by highlighting how meat consumption at this tournament will impact the planet.

How the data was calculated

The company says that by determining the average sausage consumption per football match, they were able to use data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to calculate how many kgs of CO2 were produced as a result. They could then assess the hectares of Amazon rainforest required to soak up the carbon dioxide emissions.

NU3 says that those emissions would decrease rapidly if people were to switch to a more non- animal based diet.

This does not, of course, take into account all the sausages which fans will tuck into when watching the matches on screens, at home, in pubs, bars or restaurants.

The estimated CO2 emission from consumption of sausages during the World Cup is of course only a drop in the ocean of the total emissions which is set to be 2.17 million metric tons. This figure is only slightly down from the 2.72 million metric tons released during the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil.


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