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© 2018 Sport Ecology Group

The carbon footprint of active sport participants (2018)

Dr. Pamela Wicker explored the carbon footprint of adult active sport participants in Germany in 20 different sports and proposed several variables that influence a sport participant's overall carbon footprint: environmental consciousness, gender, income, and education level. The study measured weekly travel activity to practices, league games, competitions, tournaments, and day trips related to participation in sport.

The average annual carbon footprint was 844 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions.

The study revealed several interesting findings: - Individual sports produced more emissions than team/racket sports. - Travel to regular weekly practices contributed the most to the overall tally of carbon footprint. - Diving had the highest carbon footprint, followed by golf and surf sports. - Environmental consciousness has a significant negative effect on annual carbon footprint. - Gender had no signficiant impact on carbon footprint. - Income level is positively associated with carbon footprint. - Respondents with a university degree have a significantly lower carbon footprint than respondents without university entrance qualification (by about 20%).

The author points out that policy narratives for health, and environment, are at odds when it comes to active sport participation: "Although participation in sport and physical activity is promoted because of various health and social benefits, negative environmental outcomes, such as carbon dioxide emissions caused by sport-related travel, have largely been neglected by policy makers and in the public debate."


CITE: Wicker, P. (2018). The carbon footprint of active sport participants. Sport Management Review, in press.

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