UBC Graduate Research

Life Cycle Assessment of the UBC Thunderbirds teams, events, and venues Dolf, Matt


This study was commissioned by UBC Athletics & Recreation (UBC A&R). The goal was to carry out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and provide UBC A&R with a tool to assess and manage the environmental impacts of their varsity “Thunderbird” teams, venues, and events. A principal aim of this study was to apply rigorous evaluation methods in a resource-efficient manner to identify major impacts from UBC A&Rs operations, stakeholders, and supply chain. The study uses the IMPACT 2002+ LCA method to determine cradle–to–grave impacts across the environmental damage categories of climate change (Carbon Footprint), human health, water withdrawal, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion. The unit of analysis was the provision of an entertainment / athletic experience to participants of the UBC A&R Thunderbird sports events for the 2011/2012 season. The results showed a total annual footprint of 8,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. The largest contributors were venues (72%) and travel (24%) — with food, office, waste, communication, and accommodation combining for the remaining 4%. The results, data, and methodology presented in this report have been incorporated into the Quantis SUITE 2.0 LCA software tool. General recommendations for impact mitigation opportunities and ongoing data collection strategies are also included. UBC A&R will use this to track and report on environmental performance. This approach represents a new level of sophistication for sustainability management and assessment of the events industry.

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