Sustainable Golf Steps Forward Again

Friday 2 August 2013

OnCourse™ snapshot (Dutch)The clear and practical path to sustainability for golf has been shaped on collaboration, support and feedback from many people in and outside the industry, leading to some very significant strides forward.

First, the development of an international ecolabel for golf, GEO Certified. Next a website to share knowledge and collect and publicly represent the good work being done. Then, to make it easier for people, the web-based programme, OnCourse. Plus a network of accredited verifiers around the world. And rigorous administration and governance processes to ensure credibility – recently recognized by ISEAL, the global leader in credible sustainability standards.

And now, all of this is wrapped up in a new and better package. People wanted the best of both worlds. A highly credible standard and certification, as a platform for confident communications. With an easy, practical way to get there, achieving a range of business benefits along the way. This combination is provided with the upgraded OnCourse programme, GEO Certified, and a new website for sustainable golf. 

OnCourse is a forward-looking use of technology to seamlessly guide clubs as they assess, improve, record and share their sustainability actions around areas pertinent in golf. The programme also then supports the independent verification, administration, and public reporting aspects of the GEO Certified ecolabel, and a club’s re-certification every three years.

450 clubs in 40 countries are already using OnCourse, and based on their feedback, GEO has just released a significant upgrade with an easier-to-use interface, more streamlined processes, and more practical ideas and resources built-in.

Following through on another promise, the entire OnCourse programme and support materials are available now in nine languages with more on the way. 

Kelli Jerome, GEO Director of Programmes, said: “Developing multiple language editions of OnCourse has been a considerable venture and our team is extremely pleased to finally provide the programme to people in their own languages. It was also a considerable investment, made possible with continued support from throughout the industry.

“There are more and more associations and people interested in sustainability, seeing the value it can have across a wide range of business areas. OnCourse is to make it easier for people to follow-through on this. It’s about spending less time drafting policies or wondering what to do – and instead just getting started, doing… assessing, learning and benefitting as you go.” 

Richard Heath, General Secretary European Golf Association (EGA) adds: “One of the greatest challenges we've had in golf has been connecting policy and action, locally to internationally. With over 35 national members, we recognise the value of a programme that does exactly that, on the important and contemporary issue of sustainability. OnCourse and the associated GEO Certified ecolabel, can now help thousands of golf clubs, supported by their National Federations, to engage in an international sustainability movement in and through golf. Guided by the  practical ideas in OnCourse, and then on the platform of credibility from GEO Certified, confidently sharing stories of great work being done across the game." 

On Course JacobsenThe other critical part of the path is people! There are hundreds of thousands of people working on the ground in golf.

By coming forward to get counted for the good work they do, and pledging to continue to improve, golf's reputation as a positive contributor socially and environmentally will build; clubs and developments will see valuable business results; and the game will make  an ever greater positive net impact.

The new website at golfenvironment.org is provided to help foster this growing community of people interested in sustainability in golf. Sharing knowledge. Sharing benefits. And celebrating the great work being done by people from the grass roots of the game to high-profile tournaments.

GEO Chief Executive, Jonathan Smith, added: “From the outset we’ve focused on developing and supporting the tools and programmes people wanted and felt the industry would benefit from. It’s been gratifying to get so much involvement from people and it’s important for this input and feedback to continue. You spoke. We listened. A valuable cycle. We also hope more and more people will bring forward their stories and examples via the website as golf’s sustainability movement gathers pace.”

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GEO (The Golf Environment Organization) is an international, stakeholder led, not-for-profit, entirely dedicated to the promotion of sustainability in and through golf. GEO takes a practical, positive, and open approach, working together with golf organizations, environmental experts, golf industry professionals and sponsors to provide programmes that guide and reward comprehensive, credible action in golf management, development and tournaments. 

GEO Certified, golf’s international ecolabel, recognizes comprehensive commitment and achievement around sustainability, and allows clubs and developments to publicly and credibly promote their great golf environment.

OnCourse is a free web-based programme that helps clubs to assess, record and report their sustainability action, improve where they can, and leads to becoming GEO Certified.

For more information, please visit www.golfenvironment.org 

Kelli Jerome, Director, Programmes

T: +44 1620 895100 E: kelli@golfenvironment.org

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