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Sustainable Mass Participation – The future of the industry

November 16 2023

What does a sustainable mass participation industry look like?

Sustainable Mass Participation – The future of the industry

Whilst participant levels in mass participation events are returning to and in some cases exceeding 2019 levels the industry is still facing significant challenges as costs of staging events increase in many markets.

The recent announcement of the collapse of UK based Limelight Sports, a 30 year veteran of the industry with an enviable portfolio of owned events and retainer clients shocked many in the industry and highlights the fragility of the business model.

Global Sustainable Sport (GSS) has developed a framework to help sports stakeholders understand what it will take to become a sustainable organisation in a post-pandemic world. The framework is called the seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport and provides a broad definition of what sustainability means.

Creating a sustainable mass participation industry involves integrating environmental, social, and economic considerations into the core strategy of any sports organisation. This industry, typically characterized by large-scale events like marathons, music festivals, and major sports tournaments, faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities in the quest for a sustainable future.

Global Sustainable Sport is inviting all attendees of MPW23 and indeed anyone in the mass participation industry to take part in its global survey on sport and sustainability and receive a free preliminary assessment on where each organisation is on its sustainability journey.

To participate in the survey, click on the link below:

Global Sustainable Sport Survey


During the MPW23 conference Mike Laflin, CEO and Founder of GSS, will talk about what it will take to create a sustainable mass participation industry and the opportunities that it will generate for event organisers and owners who embrace the sustainability journey.

The Sustainable Pillars of Sport

Mass participation sport has a broader framework than ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and needs to recognise that host cities and governments, brands and fans are now focusing on more sustainable outcomes.

Sports organisations have traditionally focused on Profit (Economic) and Profile (Media) outcomes at the expense of Planet (Environmental) and People (Social).

GSS has developed a standard framework that aims to capture the true value of sport.

The framework has been designed by combining different ESG frameworks and other reporting methods.

The GSS framework has been defined as the seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport:

  • Partnerships (Working Together)
  • Participation (Sport)
  • People (Social)
  • Planet (Environment)
  • Power (Governance)
  • Profile (Media)
  • Prosperity (Economic)


Mass Participation World Conference 2023

The 8th edition of Mass Participation World Conference will for the first time including programming and delegates from grassroots sports

MPW believes there are many commonalities including managing outdoor venues and the increasing challenges of climate change, similar business models, reliance on volunteers, creating a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of citizens as well as building and engaging with communities.

A key focus of MPW23 is to again create a platform that facilitates conversation and interaction. The bulk of sessions will be presentation free zones with a number of new interactive formats.

The hugely popular MPW Innovation Spotlight presented by GSIC powered by Microsoft, will again be a feature of the program as a showcase of new innovations that have the potential to help future-proof the industry. There will also be an Expo and a number of networking activities.

Delegates will have the opportunity stay on to participate in or watch the Techcombank Ho Chi Minh City International Marathon on 10 December. MPW23 is also part of Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Week – a wonderful opportunity to learn about and experience so many elements of the amazing city and its culture.

Normal  registration at USD249 closes on Friday 24 November after which fees increase to USD299. Program, speakers, registration, accommodation and other details are available here.

As an official event partner GSS is delighted to be able to offer you a USD50 discount on your delegate fee. Simply use MPW2350 at checkout

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