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Environmental Sustainability in Sport: Current State and Future Trends

This presentation provides an overview of the scholarly work on environmental sustainability in sport. We present examples of environmental programs adopted by sport organizations around the world and discuss the current state of environmental efforts.

Semi-structured interviews, website analysis, and published documents were used in the analysis. Data were analyzed through qualitative methods to identify themes representing the current status of environmental efforts in sport.

Sport organizations are proactively addressing the negative environmental impact of their operations producing outcomes including increasing organizational legitimacy, averting legal recourse, saving money, and building stronger relationships with key stakeholders. Results also illustrate the challenges associated with the successful adoption of environmental programs such as communication issues and available organizational resources.

The trend is for sport organizations to expand and implement current environmental initiatives. The current focus on the environment in sport is expected to continue due to social values and expectations of stakeholders, government intervention, and mandatory requirements for certain certifications (e.g., LEED). Sport organizations need to develop partnerships with industry experts and within sport leagues to continue their efforts. As environmental awareness grows, sustainable sports offer a platform from which to address these issues and contribute to a sustainable future.

This paper brings attention to the aspect of environmental sustainability in sport, which has received very little attention in the academic literature, but should be considered by sport managers and leaders. Sustainable practices in the sport industry have the potential to promote public commitment to environmental protection. In a global society that is increasingly aware of ecological degradation caused by businesses, sustainable sports offer society a platform from which to address these issues and contribute to a sustainable future.


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