The Open takes another leadership step
Golf tournaments and events have an important opportunity to showcase sustainability in front of a large audience. This week, The Open takes another leadership step demonstrating its sustainability commitment, announcing that this summer’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush will mark a stand being taken against single-use plastics.
When The Open returns to one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic venues, fresh water will be delivered directly to fans, players, staff and officials through water-refilling stations and special edition reusable stainless steel bottles.
Fans will be able to bring along their own refillable bottles to use at the Championship and more than 5,000 special edition reusable BPA-free stainless steel Bluewater water bottles will be given away during the week, and also on sale for less than five pounds.
For locations where the installation of water stations will not be logistically viable, Life Water aluminium cans, which are filled with natural British spring water, made from 70 per cent recycled aluminium and are 100 per cent recyclable, will be used as ready-sealed containers.
The project shines a light on the impact of the single-use mindset that has led to a global epidemic of ocean pollution. This is a fitting legacy as The Open has a close relationship with nature and the coastal system at the links courses where it is held. An earlier step was taken as part of helping to safeguard these lands when a policy was adopted requiring all host venues of The Open to achieve GEO Certified®, golf’s international mark for sustainability.
The Open Water project was developed in collaboration with Bluewater – the leading global innovator in drinking water solutions – and also supported by the UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign.
Daniel Cooney, communication deputy director from UN Environment said: “Sport offers a unique opportunity to engage with a global audience on environmental issues. We commend this initiative to tackle marine plastic pollution. The Open offers a powerful platform to influence how people think about drinking water and its associated impact on the natural environment.”
“We have all learned so much of the destructive impact of plastic in the world’s oceans and we believe we have to take steps to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from The Open in order to encourage fans and players to use alternative and more sustainable materials,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A.
This is another commendable example of what can be accomplished and a great extension of The Open’s commitment which they build on each year, from certification policies for venues, the use of FairTrade and MsC products in catering, facilitation of more sustainable transportation options, recycling and waste minimisation, and more.
You can watch The Open's short video here.
Any tournament can get started from where they are at today, and build in the same way. OnCourse Tournaments is a not-for-profit programme and service that can help tournaments of all sizes to step forward as well, to deliver meaningful results on the ground and also engage and inspire a wide audience.