The sustainability efforts and achievements of three pioneering organisations and individuals were recognised at the presentation of Environmental Innovation Awards from the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) and its partner, global logistics company UPS.
The Dutch Golf Federation (NGF), the Scandinavian Turf and Research Foundation (STERF) and Stig Persson, the General Manager of Ljunghusens Golf Club in Sweden have all demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership, in very different ways, in the promotion and delivery of environmental and social responsibility across the golf industry.
Speaking at the official Sustainable Golf Reception and Award Ceremony at Wentworth, on the occasion of the BMW PGA Championships, Bjorn Nordberg, Chairman of GEO’s Advisory Council said: “GEO is absolutely delighted to be able to shine a light on the work of these three very different contributions. From the practical, on the ground delivery at Ljunghusens, to the leadership of the Dutch Golf Federation and to the vital knowledge brought forward by STERF – all three deserve recognition, and all three demonstrate how broadly these issues touch the game. They deserve all of our respect and appreciation as golf comes to accept the challenges and embrace the opportunities that sustainability presents.”
Christine Owens, Senior Vice President, Communications and Brand Management of UPS added: “We came into golf with the added desire to support the sector’s green movement, and have been amazed by just how much the game is doing. Thanks to the partnership of the European Tour and Golf Environment Organization, we were afforded a platform to help promote that cause. Alongside the provision of our practical support through our efficient logistics programme, we decided to invest in GEO, and these awards to help bring visibility to the subject. What these award winners are doing, individually and collectively is really inspiring.”
Theodore Oben, Chief, Sport & Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), delivered an inspirational speech congratulating the award recipients and the growing momentum of golf’s green drive: “What a great pleasure it was to spend the day immersed in golf at Wentworth. UNEP congratulates the award winners for the inspiring commitment and achievements that demonstrate how every person, every organisation and every sector of society can make a difference. GEO, The European Tour and UPS, along with all the other stakeholders present, have created a strong platform of partners, vision and credible solutions which we hope will continue to drive the green in golf – particularly in the lead in to the 2016 Olympics.”
David MacLaren, European Tour Director of Property and Venue Development was in attendance and highlighted the significance of the occasion: “The European Tour would like to congratulate the Dutch Golf Federation, STERF and Ljunghusens Golf Club. As founding partners of GEO and pioneers in the greening of sporting events through last years Green Drive, we are committed to supporting golf’s environmental and corporate responsibility – through our own actions and also by helping to promote the work of others. Today was another valuable milestone in all our efforts to maximise the overall social and environmental contribution of the game of golf. We thank UPS for their commitment to this cause and look forward to working with all our current and future sponsors in bringing innovative corporate responsibility into golf.”
For over 20 years, Stig has been the golf course and general manager of Ljunghusens Golf Club, situated on the beautiful Falsterbo peninsula in southern Sweden. He is recognized and respected by his international peers as a strong advocate for sustainable golf facility management. Determined to lead by example, he has initiated a deep and diverse range of practical environmental and community based projects at the club and around the local area.
From ecological conservation of habitats and species, to energy and water resource efficiency, to the transition to renewable energy, and across community collaboration and environmental education, Stig has embraced both the unique responsibilities and opportunities that golf course and club managers have towards people and the planet.
Stig is Chairman of the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations, and currently represents the interests of golf course managers on the European Golf Association Golf Course Committee.
For the last 12 years the Dutch Golf Federation has been one of the world’s most active in investing in, and promoting, environmental and sustainability issues in golf.
During 2010 they redoubled their efforts by interfacing their very successful national initiative (Committed to Green) with GEO Certified™, the world’s most credible, comprehensive and productive sustainability assurance for golf facilities.
With belief and drive from the very top of the organization, Ronald Pfeiffer (NGF President) was ultimately responsible for transitioning over 25 clubs, in the space of 12 months from the national award to attaining GEO Certified™ status. With ongoing support from other partners in Dutch golf, the increasing commitment of more and more clubs, and in setting new sustainability targets for golf in the Netherlands, The NGF is playing a significant role in demonstrating that it is possible for a sector like golf to embrace sustainability and to connect local to international action.
Maria has been the Operating Director of STERF, The Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environmental Research Foundation, for almost 15 years.
In that time, and with the support of the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic Golf Federations, she has led the Foundation into a diverse research and development agenda for golf – producing a huge amount of valuable new knowledge – which is informing people in golf about the issues and also technical sustainability solutions.
She is also leading GEO’s Scientific Network, and working with the EU focused Wateurf Network with other academic and research bodies.
STERF’s commitment to sustainable golf was recently emphasized through an ground-breaking study with the Nordic Council of Ministers, into the multi-functionality of golf courses. The work has demonstrated the diverse ways that well managed golf courses can provide benefits for people and the environment.