A public consultation period has opened on a new voluntary sustainability standard for golf tournaments, with industry leaders calling for input into the creation of sustainable best practices for golf tournaments around the world.
“We’re excited to be launching the public consultation on criteria for a Sustainable Golf Tournament Standard,” said Eric Duea, Tournament Programme Manager at GEO (Golf Environment Organisation), the not-for-profit group leading the industry collaboration behind this new standard.
“Including the participation of various experts and industry leaders is an important stage in the development of a practical industry standard. Strong industry standards are formed when a diversity of viewpoints are incorporated, and I am looking forward to seeing what we learn over the next 60 days.”
With growing awareness among both consumers and organisers of the impact which major events, including golf tournaments, can have across social, economic and environmental factors, the golf industry is making proactive efforts to minimise impacts and maximise the positive value of tournaments.
“Since the London 2012 Olympic Games sustainability has been firmly on the agenda of large events across the globe,” said Mervyn Jones, Director at SGR Ltd, a sustainability and resource efficiency consultancy, and member of the Expert Working Group for the Sustainable Golf Tournament Standard, a group of 10 experts from the golfing, sustainability, event and academic worlds who, facilitated by GEO, are developing the standard.
“Golf is no exception to this growing action amongst events, with sustainability programmes such as the European Tour’s Green Drive and The Open’s GreenLinks programmes gaining impact and momentum each year. The aim of this standard is to define meaningful and practical criteria to assist golf tournaments, large and small, to maximise their positive social and environmental value.”
Duea added: “This is not a stand-alone drive in golf. A sustainability standard and certification scheme has been in place for golf facilities operations for several years now and earlier in 2016 a standard and certification system was launched for new golf developments, which has already been widely applauded by the industry and gained significant traction.
“Each of these standards, including the one in progress, are developed to the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice. GEO is the only sporting body to be a member of this highly respected body, along with other credible standard setting bodies such as Fairtrade, FSC and MSC.”
The ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting focuses on collaboration, credibility, real positive impact and transparency. The current period of public consultation is part of that process.
“We’d like to encourage anyone with an interest, a passion and a knowledge of golf, events or sustainability to get involved and have their say,” said Keith Peters from the Council for Responsible Sport and member of the Expert Working Group. “This is a truly collaborative process and an exciting opportunity to be part of, and to strengthen, sustainability both in and through golf.
“While the Council has applied its certification standard to three US tournaments, there are hundreds of golf tournaments every year across the globe, with millions of spectators at the events and watching on TV. This is a great opportunity to make a real, lasting and positive difference globally through this new standard and I encourage you to play a part.”
The public consultation runs until December 17. GEO particularly urges input from any individuals or groups representing often marginalised stakeholders – for example tribal or community groups, disability rights – and asks that interested parties get in contact with GEO if there are any barriers to their group’s participation in the consultation.
All details, as well as further information about sustainability in golf tournaments can be found at http://www.golfenvironment.org/vision/action/certification/consultations/sustainable_tournaments_public_consultation