Rory McIlroy says he is doing what he can to reduce the impact his international travel has on the environment after taking advice from the GEO Foundation.
The former world No.1, who travels hundred of thousands of miles each year by private jet in order to compete on the global tours, says that he felt ‘a massive sense of guilt’ when travelling back from China to his home in United States by private yet in 2019, and since then has spent an undisclosed amount of money off-setting his carbon footprint after consulting with the GEO Foundation.
Speaking ahead of the DP World Championship in Dubai, which involved travelling 7,750 miles by air from his home in Florida, McIlroy said: “Two years ago, after I won in China, I flew back home privately, and it was just me on the plane. And I just got this massive sense of guilt come over me just because this can’t be good [for the environment].
“I wouldn’t profess to be an eco-warrior, but I’m someone that doesn’t want to damage the environment, so I was looking at ways to make my travel around the world carbon neutral. So we ended up reaching out to the GEO Foundation, which does a lot of great sustainability work in golf, to help us go in the right direction. And they came up with a few different ways that I can do that. So on top of what I pay to fly privately, I pay quite a bit more on top of that to make sure I’m carbon neutral by the end of the year.”
McIlroy didn’t divulge where the extra money is being spent, but having lived in America for some time he is said that he was all too aware of the impact of global warming.
“It [climate change] is something that I have a conscience about and I take it seriously, especially when you see some of these weather events that are happening around the world,” he said. “And I live in a part of the world where hurricanes are very prevalent and becoming more prevalent as the years go by, so I think we can all play our part in some way or another.”
The GEO Foundation recently took part in a conference held at COP26 in Glasgow, Driving for Net Zero, where atakeholders from the golf industry, including representatives from the R&A, the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour, the LPGA Tour and European Golf Design and Toro among others, discussed golf’s plans to reduce its impact on the environment.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation, said: “The team at GEO Foundation were pleased to be able to pull this important conversation together – to enable such a large audience to hear the perspectives from within and outside golf. We’d like to thank the Scottish Government, all speakers and the audience, plus those that have helped promote and share the event. Now we look to the post-COP26 landscape to see what we can do best with partners and programme participants to help accelerate climate action in and through golf.”
To watch a full live stream of the ‘Driving for Net Zero’ conference, click here.