• environmental sustainability;
  • corporate social responsibility;
  • organizational change;
  • professional sport


This paper examines the diffusion of environmental management initiatives in business and the motives and pressures reported by senior executives to adopt these practices in one industry. We frame these sustainable practices under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and examine the causal drivers of environmental behavior. This study used a mixed-methods approach and included a survey and 17 in-depth interviews with professional sports team and league executives. Data revealed both strategic and legitimacy motives to adopt environmental management practices. More specifically, the analysis suggested that strategic motives were the primary reason for adopting an environmental CSR focus. Motives to address institutional pressures were also found, although to a lesser extent. The paper discusses the role and relevance environmentally focused CSR plays in professional sport organizations in North America and presents suggestions for future research in this area. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.