Sport Events and Emissions Reporting: An Analysis of the Council for Responsible Sport Standard in Running Events Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of fossil fuels has pushed the world towards crucial ecological tipping points and a climate crisis. The rapid decarbonization of all sectors is necessary to limit the worst impacts of this. Within the sports and sport-tourism sectors, event organizers and policymakers are increasingly interested in assessing the environmental impacts of events and identifying the types of strategies needed to reduce their carbon footprint. This paper responds to calls for studies to examine and compare the environmental impacts of multiple sport events and contribute towards providing an enhanced understanding of key factors influencing the scale of those impacts. It focuses on assessing the carbon footprints of 28 mass participation running events in North America. The paper uses a methodology developed by the Council for Responsible Sport as part of its Responsible Sport Standard for Events accreditation process. The results highlight that variations existed between the events in terms of their reporting of GHG emissions. The average event generated 3363 MtCO2e (0.23 MtCO2e per capita), with Scope 3 emissions accounting for 99.9% of the total emissions, and 98.9% being attributable to participant travel. This demonstrates how the Councils methodology can assist event organizers by providing valuable insights into the carbon footprint of their events and its potential value as an environmental management tool. The paper also discusses some of the challenges faced by event organizers in measuring the carbon footprint of their event, suggests strategies for reducing event emissions, and provides recommendations for strengthening the Councils methodology and its contribution to global sustainability efforts.

published proceedings

  • Sustainability

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • McCullough, B. P., Collins, A., Roberts, J., & Villalobos, S.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • McCullough, Brian P||Collins, Andrea||Roberts, Jack||Villalobos, Shelley