Fans attending The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s next week will be able to support a global reforestation drive in a new partnership between The R&A and Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition.
The partnership will generate funds to support essential tree-growing projects around the world and raise awareness of the impact of deforestation and climate change. Reforestation is a vital and powerful way of capturing CO2 emissions and mitigating climate change, as well as retaining the planet’s most essential forests that are at risk.
On-site Bluewater water stations installed as part of The Open Water Initiative, launched in 2019 at Royal Portrush to remove all single-use plastic water bottles at the Championship, will be equipped with contactless modules for fans to make voluntary donations of £1.50 to the Priceless Planet Coalition.
Donations can also be made via TheOpen.com/Mastercard and Mastercard, an official Patron of The Open, will match all funds raised up to £130,000. A contribution to the Priceless Planet Coalition will also be made from every Bluewater refillable water bottle sold at The Open.
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “We feel a deep responsibility to raise awareness of the issues affecting our planet with the millions of fans who follow The Open each year and encourage them to take positive steps that can contribute to addressing these challenges.
“As a major events organiser, sustainability is firmly rooted in our approach to staging the Championship and the partnership with Mastercard and the Priceless Planet Coalition signals our commitment to playing an active role in supporting the vital measures being taken now to safeguard the planet’s forests for future generations.”
The Priceless Planet Coalition was launched by Mastercard in 2020 and aims to restore 100 million trees to combat the very real threat of global deforestation. Planting projects are carefully selected in consultation with climate science and forest restoration experts Conservation International and the World Resources Institute.
Funds raised by fans at The Open will be distributed across reforestation projects in Southern Tablelands/Riverina and Western Sydney, Australia, Amazon and Atlantic Forests in Brazil, and the Makuli-Nzaui landscape in Makueni County, Kenya.
Kristina Kloberdanz, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mastercard, said, “As part of our commitment to advance environmental sustainability, we’re working with The R&A at this year’s Open Championship to make a difference through The Open Water Initiative and Priceless Planet Coalition. As a game which draws from our environment’s natural beauty, golf is at the centre of how sport, business and people can come together to battle climate change by doing things differently. Not only can we help people make more sustainable choices, we look forward to contributing to our reforestation target of 100 million trees by 2025.”
Dr Susan Chomba, Director of Vital Landscapes for Africa at the World Resources Institute, added, “To restore the world’s forests, we need all hands on deck. The 149th Open’s support for the Priceless Planet Coalition is a unique occasion to emphasise how protecting and restoring forests helps safeguard the wealth of our communities and the health of our planet’s biodiversity and climate.”
The Open Water Initiative enables all fans attending the Championship to bring their own refillable water bottles and enjoy unlimited access to chilled and purified water from the Bluewater water stations on-site. 123,000 single-use plastic water bottles were removed from the Championship in 2019.
Refillable, BPA-free, stainless steel water bottles provided by Bluewater will be available to buy for £5.50 from Public Catering in the Spectator Village and on-course bars. A limited number of Bluewater Player’s Edition commemorative refillable bottles, which are double-walled and insulated, will be available from The Open Shop for £35. A contribution from each sale will be made to the Priceless Planet Coalition.
As the leading global innovator in drinking water solutions, Bluewater provides proprietary water purification technologies and sector-leading stainless steel refillable bottles to help events, venues, and businesses end the need for single-use plastic.