Haikou, China: In its on-going commitment to sustainable tourism leadership, Mission Hills Haikou, one of the world’s largest golf resorts, has achieved the international sustainability award, GEO Certified, recognising their outstanding efforts to protect the environment, provide a range of value to people and effectively manage natural resources.
Mission Hills Haikou is the biggest single-site facility to become GEO Certified.
GEO Certified, golf’s international mark of sustainability, is administered and assured by the not-for-profit Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and independently assessed. GEO Certified recognises golf businesses that demonstrate a commitment to providing more and more value to people and nature at the facilities they manage.
Located on Hainan Island, Mission Hills Haikou boasts 10 diverse courses suitable for a range of playing abilities and hosts many professional and amateur tournaments, including the 2014 World Celebrity Pro-Am in October last year, China’s first carbon neutral major sporting event.
In keeping with Mission Hills’ commitment to protecting nature, proceeds from last year’s tournament were donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Constructed on 15,000 acres of permeable black lava rock, strict management and monitoring systems have been put in at Mission Hills Haikou to ensure the conservation of ground water. In addition, the preservation of more than 20,000 mature trees during the resort’s development, and the on-going replanting of more than 50,000 additional trees has restored and enhanced natural habitats that are home to native wildlife species.
The 10 golf courses, sculpted by Asian Golf Industry Federation member Schmidt-Curley Design, have been carefully constructed and designed to work with and conform to the surrounding natural landscape.
The resort is also committed to people providing attractive job opportunities for local people. As a China leader in fair wages and benefits, staff are provided social insurance, a housing fund and health benefit system and professional development opportunities and training.
“We are proud to be recognised for our sustainability practices as China’s leading golf resort by the highly regarded Golf Environment Organisation,” said Dr Ken Chu, Chairman of the Mission Hills Group. “Since our beginnings as a pioneer in developing golf in China, we have been committed to doing so in a manner that is respectful of the natural environment where our resorts are located. Our certification by GEO lets the world know how serious we are about our sustainability commitment.”
In the on-site evaluation of Mission Hills Haikou, it was noted that Mission Hills demonstrated exceptional standards and a commitment to continual improvement in keys areas of sustainability – enhancing nature, efficient resource use, and community engagement – and management of its courses and golf infrastructure exceeded voluntary industry criteria.
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO, said ‘Mission Hills has long promoted sustainable golf and leisure in China, consistently showing an impressive range of management initiatives.
He said: “We are delighted that Mission Hills Haikou has joined the GEO Certified community and look forward to seeing the group help drive sustainability throughout China and internationally.”
GEO Certified is a member of ISEAL Alliance, the global assurance body for credibility in sustainability standards. An independent on-site and written evaluation by a third party verifier ensures credibility, and a report is available publicly for transparency.