From music festivals to major sports competitions, mega-events have shown to present multiple economic, social, and environmental challenges in hosting countries or regions. Carbon emissions and the amount of waste produced during the preparation, execution, and post-operation of such events have the potential to cause great damage to the environment. The organizers of some global events have made attempts to promote environmental sustainability, introducing new standards and policies; however, the effectiveness of the latter may be argued.
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A good example of such approach is the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which was the first country hosting WC that suggested a sustainable long-term environmental project. Its five “Green Goals” focused on “energy, water, waste management, climate change neutrality, and efficient transport” (Dolles and Söderman, 2010, p. 589). Claiming to be carbon-neutral, the event was seen as a great achievement. Yet, as Meza Talavera et al. argue, the organizers did not take into consideration the international movement of spectators and participants, and all the carbon emissions related to their journeys (Meza Talavera, et al., 2019). Following Germany’s example, the organizers of South Africa WC tried to implement the “Green Goal 2010” program. However, it was a great challenge for a developing country with a number of important problems, such as poverty, inequality and unemployment. South Africa 2010 did show relatively good performance, but lacked a more organized approach and direction (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 2011). Brazil 2014 had an experience similar to South Africa, and the results of Russia’s attempts to support environmental projects during the recent World Cup 2018 are still to be evaluated (Meza Talavera, et al., 2019).
Although there are some efforts made to improve the situation, the society is currently far from solving all the challenges presented by the outcomes of mega-events. Not all the countries hosting them are able to prevent or even minimize the long-term impacts on their environment and the environment of nearby regions. The effects of some environmental policies may be seen better in case of smaller-scale events like concerts and music festivals. However, at the moment there seems to be no way to completely eliminate or prevent environmental risks of hosting mega-events.
Dolles, H. and Söderman, S., 2010 ‘Addressing ecology and sustainability in mega-sporting events: The 2006 football World Cup in Germany’, Journal of Management & Organization, 16(4), pp.587-600.
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. (2011) Sustainable Mega-Events in Developing Countries. Johannesburg: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Meza Talavera, A., Al-Ghamdi, S. and Koç, M., 2019 ‘Sustainability in Mega-Events: Beyond Qatar 2022’, Sustainability, 11(22), p.6407.