Behind the Scenes 2016 BMW PGA Championship: Championship Management

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Paul Dunstan, Assistant Championship Director for the BMW PGA ChampionshipIn the first of our Behind the Scenes interviews at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship Paul Dunstan, Assistant Championship Director, took time out to talk to us about GreenDrive, European Tour’s environmental sustainability programme, in action at the event. 

All Interviews in our Behind the Scenes at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship series can be found here

 1.     Why is sustainability important to you personally?

That’s a hard question, there are so many many reasons. Put simply the planet is our home, we need to look after it!

We are just stewards of the land and theres no point in waiting until something is broken to try to fix it, we need to take responsibility and act now. And that’s what we are trying to do through the GreenDrive programme.

 2.     Can you give us some examples of GreenDrive initiatives that spectators can see walking around the course? 

Of Course, theres quite a few.  You might spot some of the event management team doing their course checks on our staff push bikes, rather than using buggies. And most of the buggies that you will see on site are electric, with a much lower carbon foot print than deasil alternatives. You’ll also see recycling bins all across the course and in the spectator village, and the ropes and cordons that you see are in place to help ensure sensitive areas of habitat are protected throughout the event.

3.     And how about some examples of GreenDrive initiatives behind the scenes that we might not see?

One of the main things that spectators at the event wont see is the months of planning in the lead up to the event, which sustainability takes a central role in. As it does in the take down of the event structures after the trophy has been won. About 90% of the kit we have on site, from structures and decking to bins and signs, is reused at other events. The BMW PGA Championship Pavilion for example will be used at 5 or 6 other major events this year alone, including The Open, and if your lucky enough to get to Wimbledon you might find yourself sitting on the same chairs and at the same tables as we have in the Spectator Village.

Another thing that can’t be seen at the event is the work that’s going into calculating our carbon footprint, which we’re doing for the first time this year, this baseline will help us to monitor and improve our performance year on year.

 4.     What do you think are some of the most important factors in embedding sustainability into an event?

Including it in planning from the very start. You can’t just apply a sustainability programme when an event is already in place, it needs to be in tandem with and part of the planning from the onset.

Buy in from all key partners is also very important, an event of this size isn’t just put together by one team or one organization, there are a whole variety of contractors, partners, sponsors not to mentioned the host club, spectators and players. Everyone has a part to play in the success of a sustainable event, so everyone needs to be involved and engaged so that they can play their role, be it putting their waste in the right bin or sourcing re-usable signage.

5.     What do you see for the future of GreenDrive initiatives at events like the BMW PGA Championship

We will continue to grow our GreenDrive programme, focusing our efforts on specific areas that we and our partners identify for improvement each year. Continually improving year on year. Sustainability is a journey and its one that we are committed to. We want to make sustainability the norm, that’s how it should be.

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