Sustainability at mega-sport events in developing countries on the example of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2012

14 Pages, Grade: 1,2



1. Introduction

2. Sustainability
2.1 Definition
2.2 Sustainability and Mega-Sport Events

3. Theoretical Approach
3.1 Triple Bottom Line Model
3.2 People, Planet and Profit

4. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
4.1 The Event
4.2 Triple Bottom Line
4.2.1 People
4.2.2 Planet
4.2.3 Profit
4.3 Critical Analysis

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

With the London 2012 Olympic Games, sustainability within mega-sport events has come to attention again as the organisers of the event are seeking to create a truly green event (London2012 2009a, London2012 2009b). But not only developed nations are hosting such large-scale events. Recently, the FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa, the Commonwealth Games in India and the next Olympics will be staged in Brazil (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 2011). Thus, this paper will deal with the following question. Can sustainability be achieved at mega-sport events in developing countries? The FIFA 2010 Soccer World Championships in South Africa will be used as a descriptive example of a past mega-sporting event. The goal of the paper is to answer this question while also giving a diligent insight and thorough understanding of the Triple Bottom Line Model.

2. Sustainability

To provide a deeper understanding to the core of this paper, sustainability will be defined and then put into the context of mega-sport events.

2.1 Definition

There is not one single approach to defining sustainability (Blackburn 2007). One of the most popular definitions is from the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) and states that "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This characterisation has been criticised for its ambiguity (Saha 2009). Another definition delivered by Munier (2005) states that sustainable development is a combination of factors, which are economic growth, social progress as well as environmental protection. This goes hand in hand with academic literature that came to a consensus that the three key pillars of sustainability are environmental protection, economic progress and social justice (Saha 2009). Sustainability aims at enhancing all three features simultaneously (Hitchcock and Willard 2006).

2.2 Sustainability and Mega-Sport Events

When looking at the historic development of sustainable mega-sport events, one can see that it is a relatively new practice. The International Olympic Committee can be identified as initiator. In 1994, the committee acknowledged the significance of environmental issues and sustainable development (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 2011). In 1999, Agenda 21 was implemented to the Olympic Movement. It states that the Olympic Movement will contribute by making sustainable development-favouring measures part of their policies and, hence, supporting the cause through sportive activities (Corral et al. 2010). Another breakthrough was in 2003, when the Olympic Games Impact Study was launched. To measure the effect of the Olympics, over 100 gauges were developed and then clustered into three scopes of sustainable development: economic, environmental and socio-cultural. The 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics were one of the first ones to feature a clear environmental agenda. The first FIFA World Cup™ with a sustainable programme on the other hand was Germany in the year 2006 (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 2011). Currently, the ISO 20121 for Event Sustainability Management Systems is developed and will provide an international, voluntary guideline for all types of events to achieve sustainability (Abele and Holzbaur 2011). All in all, the spotlight is on mega-sport events as they deliver a unique environment to display symbolic politics and, hence, can be viewed as a driver for sustainability (Death 2011).

3. Theoretical Approach

Further, comprehension of the Triple Bottom Line Model is essential for understanding the essence of this paper as it is the theoretical framework on which this analysis is based. To comprehend this model, the Triple Bottom Line as a concept and then its individual features will be detailed.

3.1 Triple Bottom Line Model

The Triple Bottom Line Model focuses on social, economic and environmental outcomes (Dunphy 2000). These three pillars are also referred to as People, Planet and Profit (Henderson 2011) or the Three Es, namely Economy, Environment and social Equity (Hitchcock and Willard 2006). To achieve true sustainability, one needs financial sustainability and put it into perspective with people and planet (Henderson 2011). All three aspects have to be fulfilled at the same times. Having a trade-off violates the basic premise behind the Triple Bottom Line (Hitchcock and Willard 2008).

3.2 People, Planet and Profit

The aspect related to people deals with social factors referring to the fact that one should aim to create a strong civil society (Raj and Musgrave 2009a). The overall goal is to maximise the overall benefits whilst diminishing the negative social impact costs for the people affected (Tassiopoulos and Johnson 2009). The second part of the Triple Bottom Line model focuses on environmental issues which are mainly linked to the reduction of waste as well as stopping and reversing the negative effects of exploiting natural resources (Raj and Musgrave 2009a). Further it emphasises that the use of resources should be controlled, overconsumption restricted and natural diversity preserved (David 2009). The last component of this theory framework is of economic nature relating to the fact that it is important to maintain economic capital (Raj and Musgrave 2009a). Further, it highlights that economic growth has to be achieved by increasing the efficiency of the input and output cycle while focusing on enhancing the inflow of financial means and revenues (Raj and Musgrave 2009b). This element is important as a company needs to remain competitive (Elkington 1999).

4. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

The previous chapter provided a sound explanation of sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line Model. To further illustrate this, a case study will be conducted, exemplifying how sustainability has been applied at events.

4.1 The Event

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a large-scale event which was held from June 11th till July 11th 2010 in South Africa. Overall, 32 national football teams competed at nine different venues completing 64 games. In total, 3,178,856 attendees watched the games at the soccer stadia in the host country (Technical Study Group 2010). After the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world (Otto and Heath 2010). In 2010, this mega-sport event was held on the African continent for the first time depicting an integration of the developing nation South Africa into the globalised world (Witt and Loots 2010). Nevertheless, the question remains whether the local government and the FIFA organising bodies could live up to their benevolent objectives of leaving a positive legacy in economic, social-ecological and environmental terms (2010 FIFA World CupTM Organising Committee South Africa 2010).


Excerpt out of 14 pages


Sustainability at mega-sport events in developing countries on the example of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Leeds Metropolitan University
Issues in the Events Industry
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
537 KB
sport events, World Cup, FIFA, 2010, South Africa, Events, Sustainability, developing countries, triple bottom line
Quote paper
Remi Bauer (Author), 2012, Sustainability at mega-sport events in developing countries on the example of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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