Research Topic

Sport Management and Natural Resources: Benefits and Sacrifices in Exchange

About this Research Topic

In recent years, the responsibility of the sport sector to address sustainability has been increasingly recognized. For example, strategies to balance economic, social and environmental aspects to contribute to sustainable development have become a primary element in the candidature for the Olympic Games and sustainability commitments made in the Host City Contract are reinforced by the IOC.

The sport sector has a particularly close and bidirectional relationship with the natural environment. Sport is dependent on natural resources for its existence and at the same time influences its well-being whilst using them. The increased pace and complexity of the climate crisis leads to pressure on sport organisations to contribute to environmental sustainability and the preservation of natural resources. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that natural resources can substantially influence economic and social exchanges, including in sports. Many sporting activities and competitions, both on professional and community level, were suspended because of the spread of COVID-19, while other natural resources experienced over-proportional, and potentially harmful, use as people increasingly engaged in outdoor activities in nature.

Despite these close relationships, “the sport sector, much like other industries, routinely ignores or underestimates its detrimental impact on the natural environment, taking natural resources for granted” (McCullough, Orr, Watanabe, 2020, p. 393). Commonly, the use of natural resources is considered as a market externality, that leads to positive or negative consequences for the actors involved in a transaction. The traditional approach to internalize the costs of natural resource use in exchange models falls short in limiting the overuse of natural resources and environmental destruction. Recent research streams, such as the circular economy, highlight the necessity to understand the consequences of natural resource use beyond single transactions. In addition to such long-term considerations, it is necessary to internalize the provision and use of natural resources in social and economic exchange and not only their costs. This allows us to capture the value that various actors generate from using natural resources and how their use impacts the state of these natural resources and other actors’ value. Importantly, value can only be determined from the perspective of the individual actor and can both be positive and negative. This means, value in exchange can imply both benefits and sacrifices for actors. For example, woodland may be cleared to build the venues for the Olympic Games, which benefits the organizers, athletes, visitors, and other actors, but may evoke protests by environmental activist groups and residents.

The goal of this Research Topic is to advance knowledge and understanding of the bidirectional relationship between sport and the natural environment. We ask for contributions that illuminate both sports' impact on natural resources and natural resources’ impact on sport. We aim to contribute to a better understanding of the consequences of natural resource use in sport, that enables sport managers and others involved actors to develop strategies for sustainable sport management and for contributions of sport to sustainable development on a broader scale. Existing theories fall short in capturing the role of natural resources within sport management. We therefore call for contributions that go beyond a transactional perspective and internalize natural resources for the decision-making of sport managers.

We welcome conceptual and empirical papers addressing, but not limited to:
• Sport Management and Climate, Ecology, and Natural Resources
• Environmental Sustainability in Sports
• Sport Events, Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability
• Sport Event Legacy and the Environment
• Sport, Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness
• Sports and Nature Experience - Green Sports
• Greenwashing
• Marketing Sustainability through Sport
• Environmentally friendly Sport Products
• Natural Resources and/or Sport Spectators, Participants, and Sponsors
• Natural Resources and Service Ecosystems in Sports
• Sport Governance and Natural Resources
• Sport Destination Image and Natural Resources
• Environmental Engagement of Sport Actors
• Environmental Promotion through Sport
• Environment and Natural Resources in Value Systems of Sport Organizations


Keywords: natural resources, sustainability, sport management, value co-creation, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In recent years, the responsibility of the sport sector to address sustainability has been increasingly recognized. For example, strategies to balance economic, social and environmental aspects to contribute to sustainable development have become a primary element in the candidature for the Olympic Games and sustainability commitments made in the Host City Contract are reinforced by the IOC.

The sport sector has a particularly close and bidirectional relationship with the natural environment. Sport is dependent on natural resources for its existence and at the same time influences its well-being whilst using them. The increased pace and complexity of the climate crisis leads to pressure on sport organisations to contribute to environmental sustainability and the preservation of natural resources. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that natural resources can substantially influence economic and social exchanges, including in sports. Many sporting activities and competitions, both on professional and community level, were suspended because of the spread of COVID-19, while other natural resources experienced over-proportional, and potentially harmful, use as people increasingly engaged in outdoor activities in nature.

Despite these close relationships, “the sport sector, much like other industries, routinely ignores or underestimates its detrimental impact on the natural environment, taking natural resources for granted” (McCullough, Orr, Watanabe, 2020, p. 393). Commonly, the use of natural resources is considered as a market externality, that leads to positive or negative consequences for the actors involved in a transaction. The traditional approach to internalize the costs of natural resource use in exchange models falls short in limiting the overuse of natural resources and environmental destruction. Recent research streams, such as the circular economy, highlight the necessity to understand the consequences of natural resource use beyond single transactions. In addition to such long-term considerations, it is necessary to internalize the provision and use of natural resources in social and economic exchange and not only their costs. This allows us to capture the value that various actors generate from using natural resources and how their use impacts the state of these natural resources and other actors’ value. Importantly, value can only be determined from the perspective of the individual actor and can both be positive and negative. This means, value in exchange can imply both benefits and sacrifices for actors. For example, woodland may be cleared to build the venues for the Olympic Games, which benefits the organizers, athletes, visitors, and other actors, but may evoke protests by environmental activist groups and residents.

The goal of this Research Topic is to advance knowledge and understanding of the bidirectional relationship between sport and the natural environment. We ask for contributions that illuminate both sports' impact on natural resources and natural resources’ impact on sport. We aim to contribute to a better understanding of the consequences of natural resource use in sport, that enables sport managers and others involved actors to develop strategies for sustainable sport management and for contributions of sport to sustainable development on a broader scale. Existing theories fall short in capturing the role of natural resources within sport management. We therefore call for contributions that go beyond a transactional perspective and internalize natural resources for the decision-making of sport managers.

We welcome conceptual and empirical papers addressing, but not limited to:
• Sport Management and Climate, Ecology, and Natural Resources
• Environmental Sustainability in Sports
• Sport Events, Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability
• Sport Event Legacy and the Environment
• Sport, Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness
• Sports and Nature Experience - Green Sports
• Greenwashing
• Marketing Sustainability through Sport
• Environmentally friendly Sport Products
• Natural Resources and/or Sport Spectators, Participants, and Sponsors
• Natural Resources and Service Ecosystems in Sports
• Sport Governance and Natural Resources
• Sport Destination Image and Natural Resources
• Environmental Engagement of Sport Actors
• Environmental Promotion through Sport
• Environment and Natural Resources in Value Systems of Sport Organizations


Keywords: natural resources, sustainability, sport management, value co-creation, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

02 August 2021 Abstract
10 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

02 August 2021 Abstract
10 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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