Scottsdale, Arizona, United States: The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open has received the highest international award for sustainability in golf for its efforts to balance environmental impacts, conserve natural resources and benefit the local community as Scotland-based GEO Foundation (GEO) again named the event as a ‘GEO Certified Tournament’.
To become ‘GEO Certified’, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the largest attended tournament on the PGA Tour, completed a custom-built programme for golf tournaments, that was both streamlined and robust, including: document and evidence submission, a third-party verification carried out by the Council for Responsible Sport (the official verification body for GEO Certified Tournaments in North America), a thorough review by GEO and agreement to a range of Continual Improvement Points.
In conjunction with the GEO announcement, Waste Management published the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open Sustainability Report with detailed metrics and programme explanations.
Sustainability highlights from the 2018 tournament include:
- 100 per cent landfill diversion through recycling, composting, donation, reuse and waste-to-energy.
- 75 million gallons of water restored to the Verde River through the Waste Management Phoenix Open Water Campaign with Bonneville Environmental Foundationand Change the Course.
- Approximately 6,353 gallons of grey water captured for re-use from kitchens across the course and hospitality bars on the 16th hole.
- To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, purchased 100 per cent renewable electricity from Arizona Public Service, used the sun to solar-power smart energy compactors and some light fixtures around the course, and fuelled generators and some shuttle buses with bio-diesel. In addition, most of Waste Management’s trucks used to haul materials from the tournament were fuelled by compressed natural gas.
- Offset 100 per cent of the tournament’s carbon footprint, making the Waste Management Phoenix Open a carbon neutral event.
- This offset greenhouse gas emissions coming from tournament operations, professional and amateur player travel, vendor travel and volunteer travel.
- Zero Waste Stations constructed from re-purposed containers engaged attendees, educating and encouraging involvement in sustainability.
- A TPC Scottsdale Environmental Management Plan and commitment to become a GEO Certified golf facility.
- Protection of ecologically sensitive areas and minimised impact of temporary structures and heavy machinery through a TPC Scottsdale Site Protection Plan.
- US$12.2 million raised and awarded to local charities through The Thunderbirds and US$100,000 donated to environmental organisations from Green Out Day.
- Local youth engagement and free admission for local police, firefighters, active and retired military personnel.
The 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open was the first tournament in the world to attain ‘GEO Certified Tournament’ status. With the 2018 re-certification, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is the first two-time ‘GEO Certified’ tournament.
In addition to the GEO certification, the 2018 tournament also maintained Evergreen Inspire status with the Council for Responsible Sport. The Waste Management Phoenix Open was the first PGA Tour tournament to achieve both the GEO and Evergreen certifications and remains the largest event ever to achieve this level of recognition.
For the sixth straight year, UL provided a third-party verification of the event’s waste diversion. UL verified supply chain and material management, awarding the tournament ‘100% landfill diversion rate with 9% incineration with energy recovery’. The Waste Management Phoenix Open maintained its status as the largest verified zero waste event in the world.
“At the Waste Management Phoenix Open, ‘zero’ isn’t just associated with waste,” said Michele Grossman, Managing Principal of Sustainability Services for Waste Management. “We aim to lower natural resources used and greenhouse gas emissions. Always innovating, we have expanded our water conservation efforts through additional grey water collection points, and powered the tournament with 100 per cent renewable energy, and offset the rest of our carbon and water footprint.”
Jonathan Smith, GEO’s Executive Director, said: “The Waste Management Phoenix Open continues to drive innovation and results, a true pioneer of what can be achieved through sustainable golf tournaments. The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open can claim a position as a credible and important leader in advancing sustainability in and through golf – helping foster nature, conserve resources and strengthen communities; while also supporting and showcasing sustainability in front of a large international audience.
“We can certainly track evidence of wider action in sustainable golf events back to the leadership displayed here.”