Global Edition

UN COP16 Conference at GEO Certified™ Resort

12.29am 8th December 2010 - Course Development - This story was updated on Friday, December 10th, 2010

Moon Palace and Riviera Cancun are flanked by sensitive mangrove ecosystems and the Meso-americano Reef

Riviera Cancun Golf & Resorts and Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, two of the Mexican Caribbean’s leading golf destinations, have become GEO Certified™, an internationally recognised award from the Golf Environment Organization.

This prestigious designation signifies that the two golf courses, owned and operated by Palace Resorts, have met comprehensive and advanced sustainability requirements, and are committed to continually improving their environmental performance.

The Golf Environment Organization is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening ties between people, golf and the environment. Recognizing that opportunities for enhancing social and environmental quality abound in golfdevelopment and management, GEO works through a global community of partners to develop and deliver innovative, practical programs within a coordinated sustainable golf movement.

As the world’s environmental leaders convened at Moon Palace Resort for the United Nations COP16 Conference, they tackled the global challenge of climate change at a point of interface between biodiversity rich Mexican jungle and two of the world’s greenest golf courses – the first GEO Certified™ facilities in Latin America.

As owner Jose Chapur explains, environmental leadership goes to the heart of Palace Resorts’ business: “In developing golf around Cancun and the Riviera Maya we have embraced the environmental richness of our jungle landscape and taken every possible opportunity to conserve and enhance Mexico’s natural and cultural assets. The experience offered to our guests is both luxurious and also sensitive to the immeasurable value of the ecosystems that host it.

“Golfers that enjoy our resorts are particularly privileged as the courses here enable them to spend time enjoying our jungle and wildlife first-hand with their friends and families.

“GEO Certification is becoming established as a global seal of approval for environmentally sensitive golf. That we are among the first golf resorts toachieve this award is a source of great pride and a mark of distinction for our committed team of superintendents, groundsmen and ecologists.

Antonio Ortiz, Environmental Director for Palace Resorts added: “The great diversity of wildlife occupying our mangrove swamps includes anteaters, white tailed deer, swamp crocodiles and an significant collection of birds, smaller reptiles and other mammals. These two properties border an area of national ecological importance in the mesoamericano reef, and a significant area of mangrove swamps called the Nichupte Lagoon.

“Having worked closely with the development team, groundsmen and superintendents for many years, we have witnessed the management practices employed on these golf courses actually contribute significantly to increased levels of biodiversity.”

Philip Krick, Jr. Director of Golf for Palace Resorts, is delighted to be showcasing the highest standards in sustainable golf course management, both in the Mexican Caribbean and internationally: “Through continual improvement and the adoption of cutting edge solutions, such as our use of salt tolerant paspalum grasses and alternative organic products, Palace Resorts is committed to presenting a high quality golfing product that supports healthy ecosystems and brings our customers into contact with the incredible wildlife that inhabits our site.”

Aurelio Ahumada, President of the Mexico City based Fundación Eco Red, provided design and environmental assessment support to Palace Resorts throughout the development of the courses:

“It’s been an important learning and skill-development experience working with Palace Resorts to develop state-of-the-art sustainable golf courses which serve asenvironmental benchmarks for golf courses around the globe. There were challenges during the process but we are very pleased to have worked with such an experienced team in the creation of these magnificent courses which do so much to protect and enhance biological diversity.

Fernando Calderon, GEOSA, and Executive Director of ONCA, supervised the certification process at the two resorts: “Both Moon Palace and Riviera Cancun have set standards for golf course design, construction and operation that succeeds in enhancing natural surroundings while providing the highest quality golfing experience. We believe that the GEO Certification of these resorts will encourage other Latin American golf courses to follow in their footsteps and obtain this international environmental recognition.”

Jonathan Smith, CEO of the Golf Environment Organization expressed his delight at the achievement: “The certification of these two golf facilities demonstrates that golf course management and development can have considerable net benefits on environmental quality. Even within an extremely sensitive mangrove ecosystem, Moon Palace has found ways to go beyond protection and into restoration and enhancement.

“Their commitment to drive down and minimize resource inputs, along with ongoing partnership based biodiversity conservation, overlays a desire for their development not to exceed the carrying capacity of that ecosystem.

“It’s an outstanding example of the recognition that this unique and fragile environment is a huge part of the quality of the product that Palace Resorts offers.

“This has been achieved through the top-level vision of the owners, delivered by dedicated and skilled staff, and through the close support of the Eco-Red Foundation. Perhaps most significantly, these two resorts have been awardedcertification not because they were trying to reach a standard based on a set of criteria, to them the environment came first, and the recognition for this through certification verifies their commitment to environmental excellence.

GEO Certified™ reports for two golf courses can be viewed at:

Moon Palace:

Riviera Cancun:

The Golf Environment Organization and GEO Certified™

GEO is an international non-profit dedicated to supporting golf’s corporate responsibility and environmental action. GEO partners with governments, international environmental NGOs, scientists and corporate and individual sponsors including The European Tour, The R&A, The European Golf Association, UNEP, WWF, and the Club Managers Associations of Europe, America and China.

GEO Certified™ is the most accessible, credible and comprehensive sustainability certification in golf, with a productive and streamlined core content that enables golf clubs to plan, implement, record and gain recognition for continual business improvement.

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