Findings on environmental practices in sport management in Catalonia

CEO-UAB and ICTA-UAB, presented the results of the research undertaken on the degree of implementing environmental standards in the sport industry, as well as the weaknesses and opportunities for environmental policies and practices applied to sports management. The presentation took place during the Conference on Sport and the Environment organized annually by the Barcelona Olympic Foundation, on Friday 29 November 2013.

The aim of the study was to provide baseline data to improve environmental policies, both for the facilities management and sporting events, as well as to identify potential shortages of resources and specialised training in this area.

The methodology of the study included a quantitative survey addressed to local government specialists and sports managers (with the collaboration of the Sports Service of the Provincial Council of Barcelona and the Catalan Sport Council) (87 respondents), and a focus group with 11 representatives of both the public and private sector, policy makers and managers of sports facilities and sports events to capture the stakeholders’ perspectives regarding the implementation of environmental policies in sport. The main findings of the study indicated that although there are greening efforts by different stakeholders, there is a lack of a legal framework so application has not been effective.

Authors identified some difficulties to implement environmental improvements, such as the difficulty of establishing a general framework for environment and sport due to the diversity of activities and the need for specific guidelines; the cost of initial investments that certain improvements require, or the lack of sensitivity by involved agents.

The study also detected a deficit in environmental training by sport professionals, as well as limited tools to identify best practices or examples of actions on environment and sport. Despite current weaknesses, authors highlighted the benefits and opportunities that environmental policies could provide to sport. Firstly, implementing infrastructural environmental improvements involves a reduction in operating costs. And sport could be an excellent platform for the dissemination of good environmental practices. Taking into account the decisive contribution of sport to improve and preserve the environment, authors called for the need to increase awareness among stakeholders; to encourage environmental practices as requirement for receiving public subsidies; and to encourage the promotion of environmental-oriented training programs for sport managers.

The results were presented by Carles M. Gasol, Project Director of Innovation SL and Researcher at ICTA -UAB and Miquel Gomez Benosa, General Coordinator of CEO-UAB. The event also involved sustainability representatives from two major events: Eloi Burriel, sustainability coordinator for the World Swimming Championships Barcelona 2013 and Xavier Cazorla, head of the Sustainability Area at the Barcelona-Pyrenees Olympic Bid for 2022. CEO-UAB collaborates since 2012 with the Institute of Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) to promote activities in the field of sport and the environment.

ICTA is a reference centre for environmental studies in Europe that promotes, conducts and disseminates research and trains researchers to contribute to the understanding of the environment and solving the challenges that occur in their interaction with society.