Industry Forum Drives Sustainable Golf in Europe
The Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and its European Golf Partners came together last week to consolidate a shared positive vision for sustainable golf, drive forward environmental programmes, and to collectively evaluate progress to date. The meeting of this Industry Forum, administered by GEO, represents another milestone in the way in which golf's strategic leaders are mapping out a future in which golf will be internationally recognised for enhancing environmental quality and human wellbeing.
The European Industry Forum lies at the heart of GEO's structure - alongside the organisation's Advisory Council, Scientific Network and CSR Committee. Convening for the eighth time since 2005, the Forum continues to enable Europe's major golf organisations to formally engage on social and environmental issues with the sector's leading international non-profit body.
Discussions centred on the fundamental importance of a visionary and collaborative approach; on GEO's projects and programmes; on practical ways to improve environmental communications within and out with the sector; and broadly on how the game might secure a future where it was unequivocally regarded as an asset to both people and the planet.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, GEO CEO Jonathan Smith said: "That meeting has defined a new and extremely positive vision of sustainability in golf, one that is embraced by our golfing partners, who of course are the fundamental drivers in its delivery.
"With GEO as a strong and dynamic environmental partner for the sector, and with the level of engagement within golf on these issues, the scene is set to drive forward an environmental movement that will strengthen the industry and enrich and enhance the environment.
From left: Jerry Kilby, CMAE; Mike Wood, EIGCA; Dean Cleaver, FEGGA; Ian Randell, PGAE; Maria Strandberg, STERF and GEO Scientific Network Chair; Erich Steiner, EGA Environment Convenor and GEO Industry Forum Chair; Jeremy Slessor, European Tour Group; Gorazd Nastran, FEGGA; Keith Duff, R&A; Benjamin Warren, GEO Communications Director; Jonathan Smith, GEO CEO
R&A representative, Dr Keith Duff added: "GEO has an important role to play as golf's environmental conscience. I hope GEO continues to speak objectively about the environmental performance of the sector. Every bad example of environmental damage or mismanagement harms the sector's global reputation and we need an informed voice advocating sustainability across the game.
Erich Steiner, representative for the European Golf Association and Chair of the Forum affirmed the importance of the meeting, saying: "Environmental issues are a common denominator for the entire sector, so it is vital that there is collaboration across governing bodies and associations. GEO is proving to be a highly valuable partner to golf - it has such a sharp insight into the issues, and has stayed focussed on developing the solutions that the sector needs.
Jerry Kilby, CEO of the Club Managers Association of Europe attended the meeting, his first formal engagement with the Golf Environment Organisation. He commented: "The CMAE believe that it is vitally important to receive the most up to date direction and guidance on environmental issues. We are enthusiastically awaiting this month's launch of the new GEO website, which brings with it user friendly and relevant knowledge and guidance that will help our members maximise efficiencies and improve their product. GEO Certification is an inspired programme enabling any club anywhere to improve its standing within the local and international community.
During the discussions on environmental communications it was recognised that a priority for action was to improve the quantity and quality if environmental communications across the sector. The outcome is that GEO will generate resonant messages and valuable information, whilst golf organisations drive these down to their national and local members.
Ian Randell, Chief Executive of the PGAs of Europe added: "GEO has done so much good work for golf so far, and their ideas for a central campaign will be a great boost to our own membership, who can then realise their important role as ambassadors for social and environmental responsibility within golf facilities across Europe.
Look out for the announcement of the launch of the new GEO website later this month. Bringing with it knowledge, guidance and the flagship GEO Certification programme.
As Lodewijk Klootwijk, Director of the European Golf Course Owners Association states: "We are looking forward with great anticipation to the revealing of GEO Certification. We believe this will be the strongest tool so far to help the industry become greener, all also to demonstrate the environmental contribution it is making.