When there is a will, but no way (yet)

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The relation between sports events and environmental sustainability is relatively unknown. Much research has been conducted into the social and economic impacts of (major) sports events, but the environmental impacts of these events have remained underexposed. According to the scientific literature, the sports industry lags in implementing environmental sustainability initiatives when compared to other industries, like the festival industry. However, the increased attention for environmental sustainability has recently also led to increased awareness among sports events organisers and has sparked the need to act. This research aims to provide a first insight into the current state of affairs surrounding environmental sustainability at outdoor sports events in Utrecht. To this purpose, interviews have been conducted with sports events organisers, employees of the municipality and a sustainability expert from the organisation ‘Green Events’. In total, it can be said that the sports events industry in Utrecht has indeed not been paying much attention to environmental sustainability. However, an increase in the intrinsic motivation of the event organisers and increased awareness among participants of the events are now driving sports events organisers in Utrecht towards the organisation of more environmentally sustainable events. The municipality could help speed up this process by providing a financial incentive, stimulating the sharing of knowledge, investing in facilities and by introducing regulations. Although the sports industry might not be up to date yet with other industries like the festival industry, it seems as that if everyone remains committed to solving environmental issues, they are well on their way.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen