Workshop 4: Environmental Matters in Sport Management
Rationale and Aim
All parts of society are challenged and pressured by how to respond to environmental, climate and resource problems with bold, effective and relatively swift action. The sport sector is no different. In fact, the survival of certain recreational activities and sports are heavily reliant on immediate climate action (Orr & Inoue, 2019).
In the early 2000s already, the scientific community reached a consensus on the increased pace and complexity of climate change (Oreskes, 2004). At the time of writing, the median temperature of the planet has increased over 0.9°Celsius since the preindustrial era, causing ice caps to melt, water levels to rise, biomes to shift geographically, and an increase in the frequency and severity of storm activity (World Metrological Organization, 2018) – all of which impact on and seriously endangering conditions for human life almost anywhere on the planet (CRO Forum 2019) and, subsequently, any sport-related activity. In 2015, by signing up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly every country pledged to keep global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C” (UNFCCC, 2019, no page numbers).
Environmental advancements and literacy within sport management research are in stark contrast to such around economic and social knowledge. The sport sector should be no exception to advancing its literacy on environmental issues; questioning its own environmental impact; and accelerating positive climate action. Recent announcements of sports organisations signing the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework could be seen as stepping-stone for the sector to explicitly acknowledge its responsibility for environmental impacts and its potential to act as climate change ambassador. However, this initial step is highlighted by exemplar organizations (i.e., signatories of the framework), but more collective action and understanding is needed throughout the global sport sector.
In the context of global climate change, greenhouse gas emissions are most prominent. It has become standard in most industries for organisations to report on Scope 1 (direct emissions, e.g. steaming from operating own car fleet) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions, e.g. emissions caused through consumption of acquired energy). A recent trend among more ambitious and sustainability-oriented companies is to also include Scope 3 emissions, called “value chain emissions”. These organisations accept responsibility for impacts “outside of their own walls”, i.e. from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells (both upstream and downstream of their operations).
The academic sport management literature has been hesitant to study, describe and scrutinize sports’ impact on natural environments (Breitbarth et al., 2015; Orr & Inoue, 2018). Those studies available predominantly focused on singular sport events/event series or sport tourism (e.g. Collins et al. 2012). Very few research is available on regular, especially grassroots sport-related events, participation and mobility (Bunds et al., 2018; Wicker 2018, 2019; Breitbarth et al. 2019). Certainly, the sport industry itself is falling short on systematically measuring and reporting its environmental impact (McCullough et al., 2020) with only few – albeit a slowly increasing number of – sport organisations mapping and measuring its ecological impact. They could identify areas of environmental externalities to increase organizational performance and efficiency (Eccles et al. 2014). Consequently, there is also a void in research dealing with organisational and managerial motivation/resistance to accept ecological responsibilities in general and to address (negative) environmental impact caused (Schaltegger & Burritt, 2018).
With this workshop convenors seek to inspire and accelerate global understanding of how sport management research can – or even: should – contribute to nothing less than keeping the plant liveable for current and future generations. Contributions are welcome especially – but not exclusively – across the following topics:
- Environmental impact measurement and reporting
- Climate risk and vulnerability
- Climate adaptation
- Environmental policy and law in sport
- Managing sustainability
- Positive action and communication
- Engaging sport participants, fans and other stakeholders
- Sport facility management
- Environmental education in sport
- Supply chain management in sport
Envisioned Format and Flow
We envision the workshop to embrace a different flow than standard track sessions. Depending on the number of submissions and contributors as well as conferencing time available, a mix of formats are in scope at this stage, including practitioner input.
Abstract required, Short Paper encouraged.
Journal Special Issue
The convenors are talking to editors of established (sport management) journals in regard to a special issue on the topic of workshop. With the workshop bringing together a global community of practice and coalition of interest, future collaborative international research and publication opportunities will be discussed during the workshop and in its aftermath.
Tim Breitbarth (lead), Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne/Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian P. McCullough, Seattle University, USA, email@example.com / Texas A&M University, USA (from July 2020)
David M. Herold, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Collins, Cardiff University, UK, email@example.com