St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf, has again earned the highly-regarded GEO Certified® ecolabel in recognition of its long-term sustainability commitment and achievements.
St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the seven courses including the Old Course, at Europe’s biggest golf complex was the first Open venue to achieve the certification in 2011 with the re-certification coming as the Links prepares to host the 2015 Open Championship in July.
The Links has operated a sustainability programme for many years with GEO’s three-yearly re-certification process highlighting the high standards for sustainable management of links turf based on traditional practices as well as the strength of the interrelationship between the courses and the town.
In the re-certification reports of the Links and the Castle Course, 3rd party verifier Mike Wood stated that both had demonstrated significant improvements in standards over the previous three years. The independent verification describes the appointment by the Links of full-time Environmental Officer James Hutchinson in 2014 as a “significant pioneering step” to raise the level of commitment to develop and implement environmental management work, and increase the public profile of sustainability issues in the work of the Links.
A number of other sustainability measures at the Links were highlighted, including:
- New sheep grazing project to improve grassland species diversity and habitat on over 2ha of grassland at Outhead
- Very significant further improvement in waste reduction, energy conservation and water conservation
- Implementation of a rainwater harvesting project at the Jubilee Maintenance Facility
- New food waste composting facility at Eden Maintenance Facility
- Significant improvements in the efficiency of the irrigation system
- Construction of the new Tom Morris building, incorporating multiple passive energy saving measures and giving energy savings in the storage and distribution process
- Significant improvements in the proportions of supplies sourced from within the 100 mile distance band
- Additional community partnerships
- Improved external communications
St Andrews Links Trust Chief Executive, Euan Loudon, said: “One of the values underpinning our work here on a daily basis is to be responsible custodians of this special place, which is reflected in a number of ways not least our commitment to ensuring conservation of the living landscape of the Links to help St Andrews’ social and economic vitality.
“This has been a dedicated element of our work here for a number of years, which makes it especially pleasing that the re-certification review identified significant improvements since 2011. This is a source of tremendous pride for everyone associated with the Links as we have not rested on our laurels. The appointment of James as Environmental Officer highlights the work in continuing to improve and explore new ways of enhancing our commitment to sustainability.”
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO: ‘As the most iconic place in golf we are delighted that St Andrews Links Trust continues to develop and implement innovative measures within their stewardship of nature, effective and efficient resource management, and community involvement. This ongoing positive social and environmental contribution will help drive sustainability throughout golf and we look forward to sharing this great story with a global audience in what is a hugely significant year for St Andrews’.
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.com
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