Robust sustainability solutions for golf

For many years, GEO Foundation has facilitated collaboration between leading industry associations, practitioners, research institutes, NGOs, governmental agencies and businesses in the development and delivery of a modern sustainability system for golf.


Support tools

The Standards provide the framework and core content for a range of sustainable golf tools and programmes – known as OnCourse.  These programmes are packed with best practice guidance; key performance indicators; highlights and knowledge sharing; annual performance tracking and analysis reports; and carbon footprinting developed especially for golf. Each programme is custom-fit for the segment of golf they serve and are designed to be practical, easy-to-use and widely accessible.

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Once a development, facility or tournament has collected all the information needed, an evaluation is undertaken by GEO to check for completeness of information; check for anomalies in data and performance; cross reference with other relevant experiences. Next, there is an evaluation visit by an Accredited Verifier, and a recommendation is passed on to GEO Certification Ltd (a separate subsidiary of GEO Foundation) for the final determination. It is also at this time that applicants for certification are required to meet any Immediate Improvement Points (IIPs) identified by the Verifier; and/or commit to the Continual Improvement Points (CIPs) that will also have been recommended.

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Meeting expectations and delivering value

GEO Foundation is a fully ‘Code Compliant’ member of the ISEAL Alliance.  The only sport organization that meets ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice – a globally recognized framework for effective and credible sustainability systems. 

The hard work that goes into Code Compliance is to ensure the support and recognition provided to golf meets the highest levels of current and future expectations on credibility, including vital principles such as rigour; objectivity; sound science; truthfulness; transparency; improvement; relevance and accessibility.

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Voluntary Sustainability Standards

There are currently three Voluntary Sustainability Standards for Golf – facility development; facility operations; and tournament staging. These have been developed and reviewed at intervals, through collaboration and consultation with multiple stakeholders inside and beyond golf – and in accordance with the ISEAL Standard Setting Code.

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As developments, facilities or tournaments seek certification, their performance against the Standard is always validated by accredited and independent experts. These ‘Accredited Verifiers’ for sustainable golf work to clearly defined policies and procedures. Verification works slightly differently across each of the three sectors of golf, based on the degree of complexity and risk, and different specialisms required. Assurance is carried out in accordance with the ISEAL Assurance Code.

More on assurance coming soon


Metrics and reporting

Throughout the system, key sustainability indicators are tracked, evaluated and measured over time to ensure a close understanding of the performance of the development, facility or tournament.  Indicators cover a wide range of social and environmental data points.  Indicators are also used by programme users and certified entities to enable them to better understand performance and identify focal areas for continual improvement.  Collating and tracking metrics is an essential part of fulfilling the ISEAL Impacts Code, and also are an important component for the certification reports that are published for every certified entity.

More on metrics and reporting coming soon

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