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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
European Sport Management Quarterly

For a Special Issue on
Environmental Sustainability Matters in Sport

Manuscript deadline
30 September 2021

Cover image - European Sport Management Quarterly

Special Issue Editor(s)

Tim Breitbarth, Swinburne University of Technology
[email protected]

Brian P. McCullough, Texas A&M University
[email protected]

Andrea Collins, Cardiff University
[email protected]

Anna Gerke, Audencia Business School
[email protected]

David M. Herold, WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Environmental Sustainability Matters in Sport

All parts of society are challenged and pressured by how to respond to environmental, climate problems with bold, effective and swift action. The sport sector is no different and needs to adapt to changing environments, develop climate resilience and encourage systematic pro-environmental action.

There is little doubt of the increased pace and complexity of climate change and its impact on civilisation. Today, the median temperature of the planet has increased by about 1°Celsius since the preindustrial era, causing ice caps to melt, water levels to rise, biomes to shift geographically, and an increase in the frequency and severity of storm activity. In 2015, signatories of the Paris UN Convention Agreement on Climate Change pledged to keep global temperatures ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C’. However, more recent analysis from climate expert communities strongly indicates that the ‘stretch 1.5°C goal’ of the Paris Agreement has slipped out of reach as a cascade of tipping points are starting to impact on unstoppable global warming, so that the 1.5°C mark will be reached by 2030.

Despite the challenges that this raises, environmental knowledge and advancement within sport management research is undeveloped. The sport sector should be improving its literacy on environmental issues; questioning its own environmental impact; and accelerating positive climate action. For example, there are impacts on the natural environment from sports activity and these are in turn influenced by the natural environment. Sector-related stepping-stones are forming: for example, some sports organisations have signed the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and have joined sustainability advocacy groups, thereby committing themselves to undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility, act as climate change ambassadors, and reduce their own impact.

It remains, however, that environmental sustainability and sport is a wide space that offers rich opportunities for intra- and extra-disciplinary research collaborations. Therefore, this special issue offers the opportunity to help to populate that space and accelerate collective understanding of why environmental sustainability matters, and how it is integrally linked with sport and can be better managed.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental sustainability strategies and management
  • Organisational sense-making, decision-making and modes of adaption
  • Climate risk and vulnerability
  • Climate adaptation and resilience
  • Quo Vadis environmental sustainability during the COVID-19 crisis?
  • Environmental policy and law, including the impact of research on both
  • Framing and translation of environmental sustainability in the sport sector
  • Engagement with and the role of environmental aspects within CSR and ESG frameworks
  • Environmental sustainability literacy and sport management education
  • Environmental accounting, impact measurement and reporting
  • Scope 1/2/3 evaluation and carbon elimination
  • Environmental impact of sporting events
  • Positive environmental action, activism and communication
  • The role of (sports) media
  • Engaging sport participants, fans, partners and other stakeholders
  • Pro-/anti-environmental identities among professional athletes, participants or spectators
  • Green consumption and anti-consumption
  • Sport facility management
  • Sustainable logistics and supply chains
  • Circular economy and cradle-to-cradle
  • Rethinking value creation through sustainability, e.g. green business models, networks, innovation and eco-design
  • Environmental sustainability across various types of sport organisations (e.g. FP/NFP, small/large, public/private)
  • Systemic changes to the sport sector and new challenges for sport management sub-themes like sport tourism, sport marketing and high-performance sport in the light of increasing environmental sustainability considerations and requirements
  • Reviewing assumption underpinning traditional/current sport management literature and education that drive or hinder environmental sustainability
Contributions are sought which enhance conceptual, theoretical, methodological and empirical insights. In the case of empirical work, submissions that adopt a comparative approach in order to generate wider insights into a phenomenon; or provide a longitudinal perspective; or draw on substantial relevant data are particularly welcome.

Submission Instructions

Articles must be submitted in English and follow the guidelines for submission to ESMQ and follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition).

Shorter manuscripts than the maximum wordcount of 8,000 words are encouraged (excluding references and online-only support material).

Sharper relevant contextualisation of the research instead of traditional literature reviews are encouraged where appropriate (e.g. in the case of most empirical papers). The opportunity for ambitious and deep discussion, positioning of own findings, implications/consequences and propositions for future research should be fully embraced and explored.

One ambition of this Special Issue is to promote work that clearly demonstrates how it advances research and the practice/policy-making around environmental sustainability in sport and how it can accelerate actionable change.

When submitting your paper select the relevant special issue title.

  • By 31 March 2021
    Early indication of intended submission, including brief outline (optional, but appreciated; via email to guest editors)
  • 1 April 2021
    Submission system for Special Issue opens
  • 1-4 September 2021
    Dedicated workshop during EASM European Sport Management Conference London 2021 (optional, but encouraged; for submission/participation details see conference website)
  • By 30 September 2021
    Full manuscript submission (earlier submission encouraged; via ESMQ’s ScholarOne system)
  • By 31 December 2021
    Completion of first round of reviews and qualifying authors returning revised manuscript (turnaround earlier for submissions well before the 30 September deadline)
    Papers are expected to be published online towards the end of Q1 2022 and, subsequently, in a 2022 issue.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article