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PGA of America Embarks on Sustainability Drive

By Asian Golf Industry Federation


Benton Harbour, Michigan, United States: The PGA of America is working with Schupan Recycling’s SustainAbility division to create a recycling programme for the 79th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

The event will be held at Harbour Shores in Benton Harbour from May 22-27. The programme will focus on the recycling of front-of-house materials, such as water bottles and beer cans, cardboard from vendors, and food waste diversion in the catering kitchens, in order to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the event.

“Our relationship with Schupan Recycling is a testament to the PGA of America’s efforts to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Championship Director Ryan Ogle. “All materials collected will be recycled and composted locally in Michigan, which is important to us and our efforts to positively impact the Southwest Michigan community.”

Jessica Loding, Director of Events & Strategic Partnerships at Schupan SustainAbility, said: “We are looking forward to working with the PGA of America. This is a great opportunity to create a programme that improves the environment and teaches others about important sustainability practices.”

Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Schupan Recycling is one of the largest volume processors and brokers of used beverage containers in the United States. Their SustainAbility department specialises in creating solutions for events, venues and communities designed to minimise waste and environmental impact. They are dedicated and actively involved in supporting community sustainability endeavours, education and relief programmes.

An Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, the PGA of America recognises the critical need to tell the story of the industry’s sustainability successes and challenges.

Developed with sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the PGA recently released its first sustainability report titled The PGA and Its Members: Bringing Energy to the Game.

This was spurred in part through a partnership with Constellation, the PGA’s official energy provider and sustainability partner. The study is designed to attract future partnerships and talent that further the PGA and its mission, while showcasing best practices and case studies.

The PGA also recently joined the Green Sports Alliance, which leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play.

Read the full article here.

RBC Heritage Earns Top Sustainability Distinction

GEO Foundation

2018.04.13.RBC Heritage-IMAGE

Image Source: GEO Foundation

The 49th annual tournament in 2017 collected a new accolade, becoming one of only a few front-running events to achieve golf’s new mark of sustainability, GEO Certified® Tournament.

Over the last few years, the event team has worked hard to follow-through on a commitment to lighten the overall environmental footprint of the tournament, while taking steps to protect and foster nature, conserve resources and engage and support the local community.

The certification body and independent verifiers recognized the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing for: waste management and diversion from landfill; staff and spectator education and engagement; carbon reduction through renewable energy and quality of carbon offsets; water conservation; and charitable and community outreach activities.

Other notable highlights include:

  • Extensive carbon tracking and offset, covering tournament operations, player and spectators – which resulted in 100% of the operational footprint offset.
  • Renewably generated electricity powered 100% of the tournament – saving enough fossil fuels to power thirteen South Carolina homes for an entire year.
  • Extensive waste-management communications with 100 signed bins plus Zero Waste stations staffed to raise spectator awareness and action.
  • Donation of unused food went to support local causes.
  • More than $38 million donated to local charities over 30 years.
  • Year-round sustainability, including use of recycled and treated effluent water for all irrigation.

The achievements of the tournament compliment other sustainable golf initiatives across the Hilton Head Island Destination, including:   the ‘Experience Green’ through leadership seminar series, also supported by RBC; the GEO Certification of the Sea Pines Resort, with all other golf facilities in the area either fully certified or OnCourse® and working toward for certification; Harbour Town Golf Links designation as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary; and receipt of the IAGTO Sustainable Golf Destinations award for international sustainability leadership in golf tourism.

Read the full story.

Can Golf Courses in Asia Meet the Challenge of Sustainability?

Climate Action

Photo Credit: Sentosa Golf Club

Photo Credit: Sentosa Golf Club

At a recent conference at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, a small group of 40 individuals from the golfing community met to discuss the looming issue of how to make their sport sustainable.

Staged while the Singapore Open was taking place outside, presentations were held on the theme of ‘Sustainable Practices within the Club Industry’.

The task before them couldn’t be much greater, or daunting, given an estimated 6,000 golf courses exist across the continent, with many more in development.

It remains to be seen whether concerns of sustainability and the impacts of climate change have taken root within the industry. Eric Lynge, CEO, of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, recently told the South China Morning Post that “people in the golf industry here all know sustainability is a necessary aspect of good practice now, albeit mixed with a degree of trepidation”.

The Scottish-based Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) was in attendance at the Singapore ‘mini-summit’, and it is leading adviser on environmental practices within the sport. The foundation also provides certification to sustainable courses around the world.

Jonathan Smith, the foundation’s executive director said in a speech that “in so many ways, from eco-system services and conservation of wildlife, to health and well-being for all ages, volunteering, outreach, jobs and supply chains, golf is good for nature and communities”.

The GEO’s guidelines include criteria on appropriate course design, water conservation, soil management, and improving wildlife habitats, among others.

However, only four of China’s estimated 500 golf courses are fully certified within the GEO’s strict qualifications, with another 12 committed to a programme of improvements. Japan has none.

Mr Lynge illustrated the current problem as one of cost: “there’s an economic pressure on golf here, so the perception is still that sustainability is expensive, or that it would result in a deterioration of playing conditions. But those objections can be overcome”.

And while the PGA in America has also started to make inroads into sustainability, having recently released its first environmental impact report, the issue is one of urgency.

Another report from the Climate Coalition has highlighted how climate change is already threatening the future of the UK’s favourite sports, and golf was one of them.

It’s hoped that with the game growing in Asia, sustainability can be incorporated early on, rather than at the end. Smith commented during his talk in Singapore that “as regulation threatens, as resource costs increase, as communities and consumers expect more…it makes every sense for golf facilities to explore their practices and look for new ways to increase value and reduce costs”

“There really isn’t anything in sustainability that isn’t good for golf businesses”, he added.

View the full story here.

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