UBC Graduate Research

UBC Athletics & Recreation Sustainability Project: Measuring the Climate Change Potential Impacts of a UBC Thunderbirds Men's Basketball Game Dolf, Matt; Vigneault, Alexandre; Storey, Stefan; Sianchuk, Rob; Teehan, Paul; Zhang, Siduo; Adams, Tegan

Abstract

As part of its commitment towards engaging in sustainability best practices, UBC Athletics & Recreation commissioned the UBC Centre for Sport and Sustainability to carry out a pilot study of the climate change impacts of a varsity ‘Thunderbirds’ basketball event. The UBC Life Cycle Assessment Alliance, a cross-faculty collaboration of UBC grad students applying LCA in a variety of fields, measured impacts for the most significant event organizational sectors: travel, accommodation, food, materials and waste, venue operation and infrastructure. A key aim of this study was to apply rigorous evaluation methods in a resource-efficient manner that estimated major impacts by using easily obtainable activity data. A hybrid LCA method combining both input-output and unit process data was applied to measure climate change potential. The unit of analysis was all services that went into providing an entertainment experience for participants over the four-hour period of the event (food, warmth, transport, safety, etc.). The results showed a total of approximately 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from the five event sectors under study. The major impact came from travel (73%), followed by food & beverage (12%), accommodation (11%), venue operation and infrastructure (3%), and materials & waste (1%). A sensitivity analysis showed that the travel impacts of this event were actually significantly lower than an average UBC basketball event since the visiting team came by bus whereas most events require travel by air. This report includes recommendations for GHG mitigation opportunities for future editions of this event. It also recommends 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.

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