Pioneering Sentosa Golf Club Joins UN Sports for Climate Action Initiative

Sports for Climate Action Initiative signing (from left to right): Andrew Lim (Sentosa Golf Club, President), Bob Tan (Sentosa Development Corporation, Chairman), Thien Kwee Eng (Sentosa Development Corporation, CEO), Andy Johnston (Sentosa Golf Club, General Manager).

Singapore: Sentosa Golf Club will make history today by becoming the world’s first golf club to join the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative.

The prestigious Singapore venue, set on Sentosa Island alongside a diverse array of unique leisure experiences, is already highly regarded for its approach to environmental sustainability, and takes this significant step following its collaboration with international sustainable golf non-profit, GEO Foundation.

The UN’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative aims to support and guide sports organisations and their communities on a path to achieving the global climate goals set out by world leaders in the Paris Agreement.

The golf club will add its name to an impressive list of sporting organisations to have joined, including the New York Yankees, La Liga, Sky Sports and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon).

Sentosa Golf Club, currently holding the accolade of World’s Best Golf Club (World Golf Awards), will join these other participants in committing to a set of five agreed principles and incorporating them into the club’s strategy, policies and procedures, as well as communicating them to their wider sporting community within Singapore and other golf clubs around the world.

The initiative also provides sports organisations with a forum to pursue climate action in a consistent and supportive manner by learning from one another, disseminating good practices, lessons learned, developing new innovations, and collaborating on areas of mutual interest.

It also aims to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase well below two degrees Celsius, as well as strengthening the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

“Becoming the first ever golf club to join the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative is a tremendous honour for everyone associated with Sentosa Golf Club,” said Andrew Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

“We have already taken great strides with our sustainability programme in the last two years and are therefore extremely excited to be joining this initiative. We believe it is the right step for us as a club to continue on our journey to tackle climate change throughout the world and the game of golf,” he added.

Sentosa Golf Club also recently announced a new partnership with GEO Foundation, an international non-profit which aims to inspire, support, recognise and share sustainability across golf. 

Through this collaboration, Sentosa Golf Club’s future sustainability work will be guided and supported by GEO’s sustainable golf agenda, tracked and evaluated using the industry leading OnCourse programme, verified and assured through the GEO Certified label.

It is also anticipated that GEO will help guide and accelerate sustainability action in relation to Sentosa Golf Club’s course renovations and the hosting of the SMBC Singapore Open.

Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director of GEO Foundation, said: “This announcement underlines the strength of Sentosa’s forward-looking commitment to sustainability and climate action. We congratulate them on taking this important and ambitious leadership step, and look forward to supporting that commitment with the purpose-built tools, analysis and recognition that we provide to golf. 

“Of course, we’d encourage other facilities interested in building sustainability and climate action into their operations to consider joining OnCourse – as a practical first step to understanding current performance, guiding future efforts and establishing their position in the growing community of sustainable golf.”

Sentosa Golf Club’s green commitment was brought to the world’s attention with the launch of its #KeepItGreen campaign at the SMBC Singapore Open in January, 2018. It has seen a number of key environmental features implemented at the club, such as the creation of its own bee colonies, using rechargeable lithium batteries in its golf carts, banning single use plastics from the golf course and replacing them with water stations, as well as building its own sustainable herb garden.

In January, 2020, the club unveiled a new sustainability campaign, GAME ON, at the SMBC Singapore Open, that is designed to unite the global golf community in addressing the growing concerns of climate change. It aims to help golf clubs around the world to better prepare for climate change by introducing modern sustainability practices to reduce their own environmental footprint.

The campaign is closely aligned with The R&A’s 2030 Golf Course Initiative that considers the impacts, both positive and negative, of the changing climate, resource constraints and regulation on course condition and playability.

The R&A’s Asian headquarters is based at Sentosa Golf Club and they, too, are pushing an important sustainability agenda. Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, said: “We consider sustainability to be an important priority for golf and is crucial to the sport’s contribution to society, including its impact on the environment and use of resources.

“Our own Golf Course 2030 initiative aims to produce a roadmap that will outline steps to mitigate the challenges created by climate change, as well as taking advantage of the opportunities that exist to provide improved on-course conditions and playability for golfers around the world.”

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