The European Tour worked with partners and suppliers of the abrdn Scottish Open to focus on delivering a net positive impact at the second Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai as part of the recently launched Green Drive initiative, part of the overarching Golf for Good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
Key projects include abrdn’s commitment to offset all player caddie and travel to and from the event through an accredited carbon offsetting project in the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone, helping to address the issues of climate change and biodiversity loss as part of a long-term strategy.
Minimising the carbon footprint of the event is a key focus, with local suppliers and products such as East Lothian-based Hickory, who operate the on site bars, used wherever possible across the venue.
A new step at the 2021 abrdn Scottish Open is the use of low emission biofuel rather than diesel in generators, and the drive to reduce plastic use across the site continues. Despite Covid-19 restrictions ruling out the use of the refillable bottles and water taps which were introduced on site in 2019, water is available in recyclable cans rather than reverting to plastic bottles.
Rory Colville, abrdn Scottish Open Championship Director, said: “It is important to the European Tour and our partners that we respect the natural environment and communities around our events, and minimise any impact. We understand that working towards a net positive impact involves many different actions, and through tracking and evaluating year on year, we are committed to operating in a socially sustainable way in the long term.”
Stephanie Bruce, CFO, abrdn said: “At this year’s abrdn Scottish Open we have been very much committed to offsetting travel of the players and caddies through an accredited carbon offsetting programme. It’s something that is very important to us and is central to how we think about the future.”
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland shares the European Tour’s commitment to the sustainable delivery of events, aiming to lead the way in addressing climate change through a responsible approach to events and tourism. We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the European Tour to ensure the abrdn Scottish Open is at the forefront of ethical and sustainable practices.”
The European Tour’s Green drive is delivered with support from the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf (GEO) — a non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring, supporting and recognising sustainability in and through golf around the world. The abrdn Scottish Open venue the Renaissance Club, which sits on the picturesque stretch along the Firth of Forth known as Scotland’s Golf Coast, is GEO Certified, underlining the club’s commitment to respecting nature, resources, climate and the local community.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf: “We talk about nature, resources, climate and communities, and if golf is pushing pro-actively on those four things, you get to a stage of, what’s not to like about golf? It’s that net positive impact that the sport can have, and actually quite a significant one. The Renaissance Club is a really good example on the European Tour of that drive for low input turf management, and yet, tournament standard conditions. “
Jerry Sarvadi, CEO, The Renaissance Club: “We’ve been a part of the GEO programme for a couple of years now. One of the things we do is take all of our grass cuttings and over time let them degrade, and it turns into topsoil. It’s a process that takes three or four years and we do it on an ongoing basis. It’s just putting back and reusing what you take from the golf course."
The European Tour Green Drive underlines an intensified approach towards priority issues such as climate change; biodiversity loss; air and ocean pollution; and sustainable and ethical procurement. It also sees the Green Drive take a formal position within Golf for Good, the European Tour’s overarching Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
Implementation will encompass all aspects of the business including operations, partnerships, technology, tournaments, TV production and venues (including European Tour Destinations) across the Tour community, which typically involves staging, promoting and sanctioning over 100 tournaments in over 30 countries each year over the European Tour, European Challenge Tour and Legends Tour.
The Green Drive extends to European Golf Design, the golf course design company of the European Tour, and the ethos will be encompassed within projects for new courses and redesigning existing member and resort courses to host tournaments and The Ryder Cup.
All carbon calculations are in line with the UN Greenhouse Gas Protocol; and offsetting will be carried out using GEO’s Sustainable Golf Climate Projects that are in turn fully accredited by The Gold Standard, and which are designed to also ensure additional contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
‘Golf for Good’ is the umbrella name for the European Tour’s overarching Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, which embraces three main pillars: Support for Worthy Causes and communities where the Tour plays; Sustainability and; Inclusivity, Diversity and Health.