GEO launches sustainability report


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The Golf Environment Organization (GEO) has launched its GEO Legacy Guidance on Sustainable Development. The launch follows previews at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Bangkok and the European Golf Course Owners Association Conference in London.

The report is the fruit of 18 months of research and writing, concluding with a consultation process involving 30 leading golf course architects, including representatives of the European, American, Australian and Japanese institutes. Written in partnership with international sustainability experts, the document balances the interests of golf investors and developers with the needs of communities, the environment and regulators.

“These guidelines are extremely important to golf’s future growth and reputation, setting out a means for all new golf facilities to be valued as social, economic and environmental assets,” said R&A Chief Executive, Peter Dawson. “There is no doubt that golf will be better understood and more widely valued as a result of the production and delivery of this groundbreaking work.” Dawson added that the guidance would support all parties involved in ensuring the Rio 2016 Olympic golf venue meets the highest sustainability standards. “I’d like to congratulate GEO for the way it has pulled together a wealth of technical material, and presented it in such an objective and positive way.”

Antony Scanlon, newly appointed Chief Executive of the International Golf Federation, commented: “We greatly appreciate the work GEO and the other partners have undertaken. As we liaise closely with the IOC and Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee on the specifications for the Olympic venue, these guidelines will drive new standards for the way golf courses will be built in the future. There’s a wealth of constructive material that can be integrated into the planning, design, construction and longer term legacy of the golf venue – all of which will be visible to a huge global audience.”

GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith remarked, “By connecting the big sustainability picture to practical, on-the-ground decision-making checklists, we think we have successfully captured the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of sustainable golf development. This guidance adds to ongoing industry efforts, helping to equip developers and regulators with the knowledge to ensure that all golf development brings net gains for both people and planet.”

Smith commended the partners and supporters of the project: the R&A, The European Tour, The European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA), The European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA), and corporate sponsor Ransomes Jacobsen.

GEO also recently participated in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Forum for Sport and Environment in Nairobi. Satinder Bindra, UNEP Director of Communications and Public Information, said: “GEO is providing the industry with a credible resource for sustainable golf as well as an opportunity to play a proactive role in greening the sport, from the production and supply chains to the green courses. We support the initiative and look forward to witnessing the fruition of these efforts.”

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