Celebrating sustainable golf

GEO Sustainable golf

GEO Foundation and partners present a strengthened platform to support and promote golf, sustainability and climate action. The 18th of September is earmarked as an annual focal point to champion the sport’s commitments, actions and results.

GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf has launched a range of new and upgraded resources designed to help golf embrace sustainability and climate action – and also to help golf represent its collective efforts.

The actions reflect the wider momentum and sense of urgency across society and business – linked to the UN Decades of Action and Restoration, and the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report which outlines the urgency for climate action ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow this November.

Some of the key evolutions include:

  • Launch of new golf website and community platform, through which anyone across golf can get involved, access support, gain recognition and be celebrated
  • Launch of significantly upgraded Sustainable Golf Highlights tool – an international knowledge-sharing platform that any facility and tournament can use to share their stories and examples
  • Announcement of Sustainable Golf Champions group – including both high profile and grassroots ambassadors
  • Strengthening #ForSustainableGolf digital campaign, and refreshed @sustainablegolf social media platforms
  • Setting the 18th of September (18/9 or 9/18) as an annual Sustainable Golf Day and focus for collective reflection, celebration and renewed commitments
  • Building Climate Action as the fourth pillar in golf’s sustainability agenda, alongside Fostering Nature, Conserving Resources and Strengthening Communities.

Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director, GEO Foundation said: “The world is facing serious social, ecological and climate challenges, and there is a powerful sense of urgency to address these. The expectation is that everyone should play their part, from individuals to companies to entire sectors. A large, influential and high-profile global sport such as golf has a tremendous opportunity, and responsibility to step forward.

“Our future generations need golf to redouble its efforts to foster nature, conserve resources, strive for net-zero emissions and strengthen communities. The good news is that this is almost entirely a win-win for a land and community-based sport, where sustainability, great golf and vibrant business are synonymous.

“The suite of actions outlined today represents our dedication to support golf on this journey, and we are grateful to every partner and participant who is helping make sustainable golf a reality around the world.”

Partners and supporters who have helped enable the ongoing development and provision of these non-commercial resources for golf include The R&A, European Tour, Ladies European Tour, Toro, Dow and Vidauban Foundation as well as a number of national golf federations.

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer, The R&A stated: “One of the key issues is the golf industry recognising that the risks of not acting now to tackle the issues created by climate change and legislation will hinder the sport in the years to come. Dealing with resource shortages and the impact of flooding, drought and coastal erosion need to be addressed now. That is why The R&A is also pursuing Golf Course 2030 to work with partners in the industry to find practical solutions and to encourage facilities to make the changes they can make now.”

The desire and action for a more sustainable sport is taking place right across golf, including professional tours and tournaments.

Ben Cowen, Chief Tournament Business Officer, the European Tour added: “We completely recognize the need for individual leadership and action in sustainability, within a wider collective approach across the sport. That’s why this year we have renewed and strengthened our own Green Drive and wider CSR strategy; invested in new capacity; are activating across our operations and partnerships, and seeking to align closely with others in golf. We have received some valuable support from GEO Foundation in doing so, and congratulate them and other partners on helping bring it all together around this strengthened sustainable golf platform.”

Richard Holland, Director of Operations and Network Development, Wetlands International shared his thoughts on the protection of natural habitats: “The Decade of Ecosystem Restoration was launched by the UN on World Environment Day in June this year. To maintain and restore the ecological services on which we all depend (think: pollination, clean air, or water storage and supply) it is essential that managers of green spaces in urban and rural areas protect and expand natural habitats to the maximum possible. Fortunately for golf this is a natural fit and is often a win-win, as enhancing nature can reduce costs while enhancing the experience for golfers of all levels. So let’s get competitive and see who can score best in fostering nature and conserving our precious natural resources.”

You can also hear perspectives from just some of the other people and organizations driving sustainable golf

About GEO Foundation
GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf is an international not-for-profit, founded fifteen years ago to help inspire, support, and reward credible sustainability action and to strengthen and promote golf’s social and environmental value. The organization remains the only one in the world entirely dedicated to this mission, working collaboratively with groups and people in and around golf to provide strategy, programmes and credible recognition.

More information about Sustainable Golf.

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