UBC Athletics & Recreation Sustainability Project

As part of its commitment to engage in sustainability best practices, UBC Athletics & Recreation commissioned the UBC Centre for Sport and Sustainability (CSS) to carry out a pilot study to measure the climate change impacts of a UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball game. The CSS worked with the UBC Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Alliance – a cross-faculty collaboration of UBC grad students applying LCA – to design and implement the study. A key aim of the study was to apply rigorous evaluation methods in a resource-efficient manner in order to recommend initiatives to manage and reduce major impacts. The event selected is one of the largest recurring athletics events held on campus.

Project Abstract

Sport events are increasingly using carbon footprinting to quantify environmental impacts but there is a lack of consensus on what to measure and which methods to use. Small events in particular require adapted assessment approaches due to limited resources. This study used a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to estimate the climate change potential (CCP) impact of a university basketball game at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Results showed a total CCP impact of 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for an event with 665 participants. The biggest contributor was travel (73%), primarily due to car travel by spectators and long-distance bus travel by the visiting team. This was followed by food & beverage at 12%, accommodation at 12%, venue operation & infrastructure at 3%, and materials & waste at 1% as contributors to total emissions. Most of the CCP impacts arose from Scope 3, or associated impacts (97% of total). This report includes recommendations for carbon footprint mitigation opportunities for future editions of this event. It also finds that a robust baseline for all UBC A&R events be developed to set specific targets and measure performance. A more comprehensive sustainability management system that addresses other environmental, social and economic issues is also recommended.

Download the Final Report

About the LCA Alliance

The LCA Alliance is an interdisciplinary group of UBC graduate students and young professionals with a common interest: the theory and application of environmental life cycle analysis. Each member uses LCA as part of their thesis or professional work and we also engage in collective project work. We are an informal group but meet regularly to discuss LCA issues and to brainstorm new ideas. We welcome participation from a broad spectrum of disciplines, on campus and beyond, to strengthen our LCA network and our capacity for future studies. More information will be available soon at www.lcaalliance.com

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Haas
Facilities Coordinator
Thunderbird Park and Stadium
Office (604) 827-4142
Cell (778) 318-3105

Matt Dolf
Project Manager, CSS
Member, LCA Alliance
PhD Candidate, UBC / EPFL
Phone (778) 322-9556