SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) - Donations of U.N.-backed carbon credits to help reduce the carbon footprint of the World Cup in Brazil have surpassed the half million mark, the local government said on Thursday.
Brazilian companies or local branches of multinationals so far donated 545,500 certified emissions reductions (CERs) in response to a campaign that, in exchange, offered publicity in the tournament's official documents.
Tractebel Energia S.A., controlled by GDF Suez , tops the list of donors with 105,000 CERs, followed by chemical giant Solvay Rhodia with 100,000.
The Brazilian government said the donations so far can offset 38 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the tournament.
Brazil estimates the World Cup carbon footprint at 1.4 million tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), mainly related to construction works in and around the stadiums and staff movements.
But that does not include the emissions generated by FIFA, the soccer governing body, and the local organizing committee.
The Brazilian program might have benefited from a very illiquid carbon market. Prices have crashed in the last years under excess supply and weak demand.
CERs are currently worth less than 20 cents of euro, against some 20 euros each six years ago.
FIFA also has a program to reduce the Cup's GHG emissions, but it is buying the credits for it.
The organization uses different types of credits, not only the U.N.-backed CERs.
One of the projects that benefited was the Purus in the Amazon, which aims to avoid deforestation in an area of 35,000 hectares.
FIFA did not divulge the price paid for the credits.
The organization said it would offset 331,000 tonnes of CO2e resulting from its preparations and for the trips of 17,000 ticket holders who have filled a form in FIFA's website with details of their travels.
It has estimated total emissions for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup that was played a year before at 2.7 million tonnes of CO2e, well above the estimated 1.7 million from the previous tournament in South Africa.
Teams, supporters and staff have been moving around constantly in Brazil, increasing carbon dioxide emissions compared with previous events in smaller countries with fewer stadiums.
Some of the venues are more than 5,000 kilometers apart.
The Cup ends on Sunday, after the final match between Germany and Argentina in Rio. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; editing by Gunna Dickson)