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World Cup 2014 Brazil Introduces Chinese Solar Energy Company to Power Soccer Stadiums, Efforts to Expand in Latin America

First Posted: Jun 19, 2014 09:22 AM EDT

Photo : Yingli/Facebook

The FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil has plenty of recognizable partners and sponsors including Adidas, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Sony and Visa. The international soccer tournament, however, has one sponsor unfamiliar with most spectators: Yingli Solar.

Yingli Green Energy, touted as the "largest vertically integrated photovoltaic ('PV') module manufacturer in the world," became the first carbon neutral sponsor for the World Cup. The company planned to offset all carbon emissions created at the soccer tournament and its promotional activities in order to make it the "greenest" World Cup" in history.

"Our goal is to leave behind a positive legacy in Brazil even after the 2014 FIFA World Cup is over. We are proud of the solar projects we have provided, but we also wanted to do more to directly support local Brazilian communities who are making positive impact on the environment. By contributing to a Brazilian project while at the same time offsetting our own ecological impact, we can make a more significant contribution," said Yingli Green Energy's Vice President of Global Marketing, Judy Tzeng Lee.

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Yingli's presence as a World Cup sponsor could strengthen the company's pull in Latin America. Yingli, based in Baoding, China, has more than 30 regional subsidiaries and offices including Mexico City, Mexico, and Santiago, Chile.

"Boosting name recognition and brand awareness is most critical for us in emerging markets like Latin America," Lee told Business Insider.

According to Yingli Solar, Latin America is a non-traditional market for the company. In the region, however, total sales volume increased 114 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013. For overall 2013, sales in Latin America increased nearly 200 percent than 2012's figures. The company reportedly gained 44 new customers across the region as its customer base increased by 118 percent.

Specifically for the World Cup, Yingli officials stated more than 5,000 solar panels and approximately 30 off-grid solar energy systems were supplied to help power multiple matches. Maracanã Stadium, the setting for the 2014 World Cup's final game, was equipped with more than 1,500 Yingli Solar panels, "which are expected to provide clean electricity for the facility for decades."

Yingli officials plan to host a conference from Rio de Janeiro on June 27 to provide an update on achieving "carbon neutrality" for the World Cup. The company partnered with the independent environmental agency ClimatePartner to help "accurately calculate" and verify emissions data during Yingli's sponsorship with the World Cup in Brazil.

"Sustainability is one of the key tenants in our vision for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Environmental initiatives such as the one presented by our sponsor Yingli today are contributing to increasing the positive impact of the FIFA World Cup on society and the environment. We are grateful to Yingli and their local partners for helping us leave a lasting legacy in Brazil," said FIFA's Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Federico Addiechi.


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