What is the challenge?
Most Swedes engage in sports and outdoor activities in some form, as participants, leaders or spectators. This is of huge benefit to society, since sport and outdoor life promote health and well-being. Nevertheless, basic knowledge of how sports and open-air recreation affect the climate and environment is lacking. Research is needed on the sector’s environmental impact, but also on how changed behaviours and alternative ways of travelling and consuming food, clothes and equipment connected with sport and outdoor activities can enhance sustainability.
How can the programme contribute to a solution?
Mistra Sport & Outdoors involves some 20 researchers in such fields as sport and fitness sciences, tourism studies, geography, history, education, ecology, transport studies and materials sciences. Numerous interest organisations and public agencies connected with nature, the environment, sport and outdoor life are associated with the programme; examples are the Swedish Sports Confederation, Svenskt Friluftsliv (‘Swedish Outdoor Life’), the Scandinavian Outdoor Group, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
The researchers and the other stakeholders in the programme will engage in co-creation in, for example, joint case studies and workshops, to identify key challenges and find solutions.
The research is organised in six themes:
- Knowledge, path dependencies and transformation
- Transport and mobility
- Land and water use
- Materials and equipment
- Events and specators
- Behavior, policy and future change.
Who will benefit from the results?
The objective for Mistra Sport & Outdoors is to create a movement for more sustainable sporting and outdoor activities in society. The programme will establish a network-based centre for research, development and policy support regarding sustainable solutions in sport and outdoor recreation. The programme is also intended to help forge ties between studies in sport and fitness, on the one hand, and outdoor recreation on the other, and to develop new knowledge on the research front line. Reduced environmental impact and greater sustainability can, in the long term, make sport and outdoor life more accessible to more people, for example by increased proximity and lowered costs.
‘For the Swedish Sports Federation, Mistra Sport & Outdoors is an incredibly important and welcome initiative. Sport can promote positive trends in society at many levels, while major changes currently under way in our society are fundamentally impacting on conditions for sport. In all the programme’s thematic areas, there are challenges in which the sports movement, with new knowledge from research, can develop its activities.’
Peter Mattsson, head of sports development at the Swedish Sports Federation