Waste Management Phoenix Open Helps Set New Sustainability Standard

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Waste Management Phoenix Open Think GreenThe 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open is conducting an official pilot of the new sustainability standard for golf tournaments. Highly regarded for their leadership in sustainability and sports, Waste Management will put the standard to test at golf's most highly attended professional tournament.

Over half a million spectators will pass through the gates of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale this week.  Despite these attendance levels, the event has achieved zero waste-to-landfill the past four consecutive years. “It’s been very exciting to collaborate with the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Council for Responsible Sport and other event partners in piloting a new standard for golf tournaments,” said Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO (Golf Environment Organization) the non-profit coordinating development of the standard. “The pilot comes at the end of a lengthy process, which has brought together international collaboration across tournament directors, academics, sustainability and event experts.  We are delighted to now be close to completing a consistent and highly credible trio of sustainability standards for golf – spanning facility management, developments and now tournaments – each with a bespoke approach to third party verification and certification.”

Waste Management Phoenix OpenPiloting the new standard has been the focal point of the Inspire status awarded to the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open by the Council for Responsible Sport, a non-profit based in Oregon that promotes sustainability in sport. Inspire status is the highest designation awarded by the Council for Responsible Sport. As a result of continuous leadership and achievement, Inspire event organizers are expected to mentor other sporting events. Lessons from this year’s pilot will advance the Sustainable Golf Tournament Standard and inspire other golf tournaments around the world to embrace practical action against social and environmental issues.

Both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Council for Responsible Sport sit on the Expert Working Group which drove the development of this new standard. It builds on the Council for Responsible Sport’s framework for all sporting events, integrating a focus on performance across golf’s sustainability agenda: nature conservation; resource efficiency; and community value. It is designed to be relevant, practical and accessible to golf tournaments of all sizes.   

The Sustainable Golf Tournament standard, and GEO Certified® Tournaments label, will be launched in 2017, combining the results and feedback from the Waste Management Phoenix Open as well as previous tournaments such as The 145th Open Championship and the 2014 Ryder Cup. Following completion of the official pilot, the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open hopes to become the first tournament to achieve this international recognition.

Michele Grossman, Managing Principal of Sustainability Services at Waste Management said: “Improving social, environmental and economic well-being through sport is growing and becoming more visible. Waste Management supports credible certification because it holds events accountable to their claims, and helps organizers develop programs to have a lasting beneficial impact on the communities where their events take place and the legacy they leave behind. As part of our Inspire certification from the Council for Responsible Sport we chose to partner with GEO to help develop a credible standard specific to golf tournaments. We’re excited to test our years-long experience at “the greenest show on grass”, and proud to lead in this sustainable sport movement.”

Collier Miller, Senior Director of Agronomy for TPC Network said: “We are extremely proud to host the Waste Management Phoenix Open, ‘the greenest show on grass’ at TPC Scottsdale and to play our part in the initiatives pioneered by Waste Management and which are very much in line with our own TPC ethos and practices. We are always working to advance the substantial environmental programmes at our facilities and welcome the engagement of GEO in this effort through their custom built standard and guidance programs for golf.” 

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