A new European initiative addressing environmental issues relating to golf – supported by the European Commission – has been announced at The European Tour headquarters at Wentworth.
Golf Environment Europe (GEE) has been formed by the Trustees of the European Foundation for Golf and Environment (formerly the Committed to Green Foundation). The programme of GEE’s activities will be led by the European Forum for Golf and Environment – a partnership of golfing and environmental organisations.
Timo Makela, depute director general of environment at the European Commission, said, “I am pleased to see the birth of a new initiative aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues in the European golf sector. I hope that this initiative will help golf facilities across Europe to share best practices and achieve the highest level of environmental protection.”
GEE builds upon over ten years of golf environment programme development from the Committed to Green Foundation. Forthcoming projects include the launch of the website, www.golfenvironmenteurope.org, the organisation’s environmental information centre; the re-launch of the former Committed to Green environmental management system for golf courses; and the launch of a programme that will enable new golf course developments to register and be certified for properly integrating environmental issues into their planning, design and construction.
Jonathan Smith, chief executive of Golf Environment Europe, commented, “This is another important step forward for golf in Europe. The initiative represents golfing and environmental organisations working together. We now have a formal European interface between the golfing and environmental sectors. This is based on a collective environmental strategy for the sector, supported by environmental action plans for individual golfing bodies.
“In this way we are well placed to communicate with, and promote practical guidance to practitioners in the field. We are looking forward to working with our partners across Europe in joining up the promotion of environmental sustainability in golf.”
George O‘Grady, executive director of the European Tour, added his support, saying, “The European Tour has worked closely with the Committed to Green Foundation for many years. We are keen to continue to support Golf Environment Europe, alongside a number of other golf organisations, and demonstrate that golf can address a number of important environmental issues.
“We are continually looking at new ways to integrate environmental best practices into our event planning and staging, and encouraging our host venues to work through the Golf Environment Europe Certification Programme.”
Timo Makela added, “In particular, I am pleased to see that the most ambitious and credible of all environmental management systems currently available, the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), has been selected by Golf Environment Europe as the recommended system. I am convinced that this will help all golf facilities across the EU to assess, manage, improve and communicate on their environmental performance. After all, part of the enjoyment of golf is to be outside in a clean environment close to nature.”
Golf Environment Europe www.golfenvironmenteurope.org