Dr. Madeleine Orr is a sport ecologist based in the Institute of Sport Business at Loughborough University London.
She is the founder and co-director of The Sport Ecology Group, an international consortium of academics who drive climate action in the sport sector through research and public education initiatives.
Her seminal research in sport ecology examines the impacts of climate change on the sport sector, with a focus on resilience and adaptation in outdoor sports. Alongside colleagues, she has recently completed studies forecasting the next ten years' worth of climate hazards at mega-events (e.g. Olympics and FIFA World Cup events 2022-2032), reviewing the climate adaptation efforts of Major League Baseball clubs, and assessing the perceived credibility of athlete activists on the topic of climate change.
Madeleine’s community work includes serving as the a member of the Minister of Heritage (Canada)'s Advisory Committee on Greening the Sport Sector. She is also Chair of Green Sports Day Canada, the Sustainability Lead on the Commonwealth Sport for Development and Peace Youth Network, the creator of the Students&Scholars Deck, and the co-founder of Rock Your Cause Workshops.
Her research has appeared in the BBC, Globe and Mail, ESPN, Corporate Knights Magazine, TSN, The Sustainability Report, and the CBC.
Madeleine’s work in the sport sustainability movement has been recognized by the North American Association of Environmental Education (30 Under 30, Class of 2020), Corporate Knights Magazine (30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership, class of 2020), and the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2021.
In 2021, Orr studied a postdoctoral program in Strategy at the University of British Columbia. Previously, she earned a PhD in Kinesiology (sport management) at the University of Minnesota in 2020, where she also earned an MSc in Natural Resource Science and Management in 2018. In 2015, Orr completed an MSc in International Event Management at the University of Brighton, and a Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.
From 2019 to 2021, Orr was an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at the State University of New York, College at Cortland.
Current research and collaborations
Dr. Orr's current research agenda is focused on identifying the climate hazards most likely to impact various sports and events in the coming decades, and developing strategic approaches for addressing climate vulnerability proactively.
She is also interested in the role of sport organizations and sportspeople as 'role models', and their capacity to inspire climate action among their sponsor networks, supply chains, and fans - sometimes through the intermediary of sports media.
Interests and activities
For three seasons, Dr. Orr was the host of the Climate Champions Podcast, a show that leverages the public's adoration of sport to delve into conversations about climate change, zero waste, carbon neutrality, energy conservation, climate adaptation, disaster recovery, ocean plastics, and more. Access the podcast here.
The Sport Ecology Group's website can be found here.