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An Exploratory Analysis of the Environmental Sustainability Performance Signaling Communications among North American Sport Organizations

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  • Brian P. McCullough

    () (Management Department, Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, Seattle, WA 98195, USA)

  • Jamee Pelcher

    () (KRSS Department, College of Education, Health & Human Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA)

  • Sylvia Trendafilova

    () (KRSS Department, College of Education, Health & Human Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA)

Abstract

Sport organizations across North America promote and claim deep commitments to environmental issues through sustainability performance signaling. These signals are conveyed through external associations or memberships (e.g., Green Sports Alliance) or internally (e.g., environmental reports and communications). However, researchers have not explored this communication strategy as it relates to environmental initiatives in sport nor compared environmental communications of sport organizations from the major professional sport leagues in North America. We analyzed the websites of 147 North American sport organizations and their associated venue websites for environmental performance signaling communications. We found that only one sport organization featured an environmental report on its website, and 42 sport organizations highlighted environmental initiatives through dedicated webpages on the respective team or venue’s website. Predominately, these communications focused on fan engagement initiatives (i.e., awareness, participation) but lacked goal setting, measurement metrics, or performance summaries. We discuss these themes, the implications, and recommendations for how sustainability performance signaling can be better leveraged in the North American sport sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian P. McCullough & Jamee Pelcher & Sylvia Trendafilova, 2020. "An Exploratory Analysis of the Environmental Sustainability Performance Signaling Communications among North American Sport Organizations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-17, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:5:p:1950-:d:328196
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aerts, Walter & Cormier, Denis, 2009. "Media legitimacy and corporate environmental communication," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-27, January.
    2. Hela Sheth & Kathy Babiak, 2010. "Beyond the Game: Perceptions and Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Professional Sport Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 433-450, February.
    3. Dominique Diouf & Olivier Boiral, 2017. "The Quality of Sustainability Reports and Impression Management: A Stakeholder Perspective," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 643-667, March.
    4. Chris Chard & Cheryl Mallen, 2013. "Renewable Energy Initiatives at Canadian Sport Stadiums: A Content Analysis of Web-Site Communications," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(12), pages 1-16, November.
    5. Spector, Sam & Chard, Chris & Mallen, Cheryl & Hyatt, Craig, 2012. "Socially constructed environmental issues and sport: A content analysis of Ski Resort Environmental Communications," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 416-433.
    6. Michael Robinson & Anne Kleffner & Stephanie Bertels, 2011. "Signaling Sustainability Leadership: Empirical Evidence of the Value of DJSI Membership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(3), pages 493-505, July.
    7. Patrycja Hąbek & Radosław Wolniak, 2016. "Assessing the quality of corporate social responsibility reports: the case of reporting practices in selected European Union member states," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 399-420, January.
    8. Patrycja Hąbek & Radosław Wolniak, 2016. "Assessing the quality of corporate social responsibility reports: the case of reporting practices in selected European Union member states," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 399-420, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustainability performance signaling; website communications; environmental reports; North American professional sport;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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