First in World to be Re-certified

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Widespread recognition of golf’s positive social and environmental impacts is gathering pace – and is being led by a group of clubs who have shown the way toward ever-stronger achievements and credible communications through the GEO Certified ecolabel.

Forsgardens Golf ClubSweden’s Forsgårdens Golf Club is a leader among leaders, stepping up in 2009 as one of the very first golf clubs to become GEO Certified. Three years later, they are the first club in the world to be re-certified by the Golf Environment Organization.

Re-certification is a vital point of credibility for all ecolabelling, demonstrating how sustainability can extend deeper into decision-making and communications over time, and affirming the important ‘continual improvement’ principle that makes sustainability a mindset and a journey rather than a static destination.

The announcement represents a milestone in golf’s sustainability movement; the first time that any golf club, anywhere in the world, has been re-certified via a dedicated, third-party verified and transparently reported programme for golf.

Gordon Shepherd, GEO Board Member and former Head of Global Policy for WWF International recognized the significance:

"Having worked on the development of many industry certification programmes and ecolabels, from forestry to fisheries, I have seen landmark points in time, when something significant demonstrates a clear path to a more sustainable future. This is one of those moments.

GEO was founded to support clubs in their sustainability actions and bring forward real, transparently reported results; steering away from one-time awards that risk bringing complacency, in favour of driving continual improvement.

It is to Forsgårdens’ considerable credit that through this re-certification, they demonstrate clear and quantifiable improvements across a comprehensive range of issues. Amongst all the processes and protocols, we are reminded that it’s positive individual, personal engagement and action that environment and society needs.”

Ole Riger-Kusk, an independent verifier accredited by GEO, conducted the initial certification and the recertification and found that Forsgårdens upheld and strengthened a solid environmental performance. Making more improvements in the three years since becoming GEO Certified, especially around landscape and ecosystems, energy and resource conservation, waste management, and also more communications with authorities and the surrounding community.

"The visit to our club by Ole was very rewarding. We learned more as we discussed our work and received good suggestions for further future improvements,” said Course Manager, Mattias Jöckert.

Jan Strömblad, a member of the club’s Environmental Committee added:

"Re-certification wasn’t an insignificant exercise. It required some resources in terms of time and money but the Board agreed it would be well spent on a credible independent review of our environmental program, suggestions for future improvements, and continuation of an internationally recognized distinction. We’re now looking forward to doing even more in the next three years.”

Gunnar Håkansson, General Secretary of the Swedish Golf Federation added:

"We are extremely proud of Forsgårdens Golf Club. They are a world-leading example of a well managed, well presented golf course which is active across all forms of sustainability decision making, with professionals and volunteers positively engaged in maximizing the social and environmental value of the game. This is the future for golf in Sweden.”

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