One Planet, One Game: IGF statement
No fewer than 153 individual golf organizations have signed up to the International Golf Federation’s sustainability statement, which puts safeguarding the environment and working for communities at the top of the sport’s agenda.
And with the Olympic Games less than 200 weeks away, it’s not only gold medals but also green gains that are up for grabs in this groundbreaking international expression of commitment.
For over two decades, the game of golf has been working to understand and address environmental issues, more recently identifying the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit as the integrated benefits arising from an environmentally driven approach to the royal and ancient game.
The opening to the IGF Statement on Sustainability reinforces the fundamental importance of sustainability to golf, stating, “Safeguarding the environment is a top global priority. As a growing international sport, requiring significant land use, golf has a responsibility to embrace the principles and practice of sustainability.”
Such an expression matches the ethos of the Olympic movement and the International Olympic Committee’s clear and long- standing commitment to sustainable sport, and demonstrates that golf is united behind a positive, voluntary and proactive contribution to people and the planet. The IGF’s promise to, “Make sustainability a central pillar of our mission,” is rounded-off with a healthy dose of realism, “recognising that the future will present many challenges but the IGF and its member organizations are working to ensure that many more generations will enjoy golf and the facilities on which it is played.
”As well as pointing to the benefits of sustainability, the statement emphasises the importance of turning policies and principles into action. This will be done through the incorporation of “practices and technology into daily business decisions and operations,” as well as encouraging “golfers to embrace environmentally sound practice in course preparation.”
The recent announcement of the IGF’s sustainability strategy comes on the back of, and is far from disconnected with, the Sustainable Golf Development Guidelines that were central to the selection of Hanse Golf Design, in partnership with US golfing great Amy Alcott, to lay out a challenging and sustainable golf course for Rio 2016 and beyond.
IGF Executive Director Anthony Scanlon clearly outlined that environmental considerations played a central role in the selection process.
“There was a strong emphasis within the request for proposals for the golf course designer to be environmentally sustainable and the winning design reflects this,” said Scanlon recently, adding “when completed, there will be a well-planned, designed, constructed and managed golf facility with a range of environmental and social legacies.”
Explaining the thinking of the selection panel, Scanlon noted that, “Restoration of degraded land, certification of venue as environmentally sustainable and creation of green space with local access,” were all determining factors. Just as important were, “the creation of watershed and provision of natural filtering and treatment of water, management of run-off, erosion and conservation of soil structure and biodiversity and an improved ecosystem with increased native plants that will encourage wildlife sanctuary.”