Ryder Cup Sets New Standards for Sustainable Events

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Presentation of 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive Report from GEO to European Tour

The 2014 Ryder Cup yet again stepped forward as one of the world’s leading sustainable events, generating significant benefits to the community and environment, a new report released this week has concluded.

The Green Drive, led by key partners and engaging dozens of suppliers and contractors ensured reductions in the event’s resource footprint, while maximising opportunities to deliver positive social and environmental legacies.

Key findings in the report, ‘A Review of The 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive’, include:

  • High standards of environmental management and community outreach carried out by Gleneagles Resort, and Junior Ryder Cup venue, Blairgowrie Golf Club, including ecologically led site protection and restoration plans;
  • Promotion of the Scottish Food and Drink Sustainability Charter ensured that local, seasonal and healthy food, that met high welfare standards was sourced.  As an example, Fabulous Feasts sourced 68 per cent of all produce from Scottish suppliers;
  • Careful site planning and protection with monitoring by the Green Drive Team ensured zero environmental incidents resulted from the staging of the event;
  • Morrisons Construction substantially cut the footprint of one of the few aspects of permanent infrastructure - recycling on-site materials to avoid over 600 lorry loads and 28,000 road miles during the construction of the park and ride bus terminals, a key project in reducing car mileage and congestion around the venue;
  • The lower carbon transport plan resulted in over 7500 additional spectators per day travelling by rail, straight into the newly refurbished Gleneagles rail station, and over 181,744 spectators travelling on collective bus transportation from the three remote park and ride hubs;
  • As part of the successful Zero Waste to Landfill policy, supported by lead contractors William Tracey and Spectrum, an extensive reuse and recycling scheme ensured that PVC, glass, timber and more than 70 per cent of the vinyl, carpet and Astroturf from the main hospitality suites was re-distributed to community groups;
  • An effective energy management strategy, including a daily ‘power down’ and the use of bio-fuel in generators resulted in Aggreko delivering a 10 per cent reduction in anticipated temporary power carbon emissions;
  • In partnership with the Scottish Government, Perth and Kinross Council and the Scottish Golf Union, four Green Drive Legacy projects continue to deliver valuable community / environmental activities across Perthshire.

Edward Kitson, Ryder Cup Match Director, said “We are delighted to see how many practical results the Green Drive delivered across such a wide range of aspects of the event – from the venue management to staging to legacies and also in communicating and promoting sustainability. This information is now being shared with the organisers of The 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, and at the same time the bidding nations for The 2022 Ryder Cup are currently outlining their sustainability plans in their submissions.  With the European Tour Green Drive also moving forward apace, it’s clear to see just how much importance we place on bringing value to the environment and communities alongside world-class sport”.

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, said:  “The global spotlight was firmly fixed on Scotland in 2014, and The Ryder Cup was the perfect platform to showcase our nation’s breathtaking natural environment and world-class food and drink.  The Ryder Cup Green Drive included many innovative measures to make the event as sustainable as possible, including promoting the fantastic natural larder we have on our doorstep. I now look forward to seeing how this valuable experience can help raise knowledge and standards for the golf sector, as well as other major events in Scotland during our Year of Food and Drink and beyond.”

The Green Drive was coordinated by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO), a non-profit group which has worked closely as the sustainability partner to Ryder Cup Europe since 2006.   GEO worked collaboratively with a wide-range of partners and stakeholders including the likes of Gleneagles Resort, Event Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO said:  “Ryder Cup Europe continues to demonstrate an outstanding commitment to sustainability, and The 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive has shown again how important it is to take a team approach at major sporting events. We look forward to continuing to work with Ryder Cup, other golf tournaments and golf organisations around the world, to build upon successes and lessons from Gleneagles to further golf’s position as a sustainability leader in sport.”

Dr Susie Tomson, Project Manager for the initiative added: “Having worked with the London Olympics it is fantastic to see events such as The Ryder Cup taking yet further steps to deliver across all aspects of sustainability. Ryder Cup has really set the benchmark for other golf tournament organisers.”

Linked to research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University, the report also identified the success of efforts to promote the initiative and raise spectator awareness – leading organisers to conclude that this was a clear area of opportunity for the future:

  • 25% of spectators were aware of the Green Drive initiative
  • 65% were aware of the Zero Waste Policy and promotion of recycling
  • 24% noticed the FairTrade information at food outlets
  • 45% were willing to consider a financial contribution to the initiative if they knew it was going towards worthy social and environmental causes around the event 

To download a copy of the report here.

Zero Waste Scotland, a member of the 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive steering group, has published a new guide to help event organisers to plan and deliver environmentally sustainable events.  The guide, which builds on learnings from high-profile events hosted by Scotland during 2014, including the Ryder Cup 2014 along with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, can be can be downloaded here.

Notes to editors:

The Ryder Cup is the largest match play golf tournament in the world, held every two years in the US  and Europe. 250,000 spectators attended The 2014 Cup, which took place from September 26-28, from 96 countries. It was broadcast to 183 countries, reaching more than 500 million homes around the world.

Gleneagles Resort has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and has won numerous local, national and international awards for their environmental and community activities, including achieving golfs international eco-label GEO Certified®.

GEO is the international not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the golf community worldwide improve and credibly demonstrate leadership in sustainability. GEO is a member of ISEAL Alliance – the global assurance body for credibility and transparency in voluntary standards of eco-labels.

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