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Spectators are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint at The 2010 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)

Working together for a lighter event footprint

Ryder Cup Europe, Golf Environment Organization, Greenstone Carbon Management and The CarbonNeutral Company have joined forces to reduce the carbon footprint of The 2010 Ryder Cup.

The 2010 Ryder Cup will be delivering a world class sporting event that showcases responsible environmental management in golf. A fundamental part of this process is monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the event.

Greenstone Carbon Management, the global specialist carbon solutions company, conducted an initial assessment of the event’s footprint under ‘business as usual’ conditions which was based on data from The Ryder Cup in 2006 and the Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2009. The assessment identified that the biggest climate change impact would come from people travelling to the event followed by energy use and waste production.

A wide range of initiatives are being put in place to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, including increasing the number of trains available to carry spectators to the event, selecting local suppliers based on a carbon performance criterion, making sure that waste from the event is reused and/or recycled and supporting the Celtic Manor Resort in protecting wildlife at the course itself.

Carbon reduction capability was a key factor in supplier selection and all suppliers have been encouraged to develop creative low carbon solutions to reduce the impact of their services; for example the entire tented village will be powered from biodiesel made from waste cooking oil, and all food wrapping will be made from compostable material.

These carbon saving initiatives are expected to reduce the core carbon footprint (which consists of carbon emissions produced by travel, waste and energy usage, excluding the travel of spectators to the event) by 20% compared with business as usual. In addition, the European and American teams have pledged to offset their flight emissions through validated resource conservation carbon offset projects, supplied by The CarbonNeutral Company, a world-leading provider of carbon reduction solutions.

Carbon offsetting will reduce the net core carbon footprint by a further 20%. A facility has also been put in place for spectators wishing to take responsibility for their own travel carbon emissions to do so through purchasing offsets online by clicking here.

Matthew de Villiers, CEO of Greenstone Carbon Management said: “We have been very impressed with the efforts of The Ryder Cup team to embrace the challenge presented by tackling their carbon footprint.  The 2010 Ryder Cup will set a benchmark for carbon action and will be a reference point for future golf events. Just as importantly, by engaging with the event suppliers on this issue it has shown that action on climate change can be a positive differentiator for suppliers.”

Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director from The CarbonNeutral Company added: “Organisations that voluntarily reduce carbon emissions are vital to reaching the 80% reduction target by 2050 that science tells us we need in order to slow the effects of climate change. Our experience also shows that innovative organisations that reduce their carbon emissions and engage their stakeholders benefit from reduced operational costs and enhanced corporate reputation.”

Jonathan Smith from Golf Environment Organization summed up the importance of the project: “The 2010 Ryder Cup is striving, like other sporting and cultural events around the world, to minimise its environmental footprint.   

"We’re delighted at a number of outcomes that we have been able to achieve, which is thanks to the innovation and commitment of many suppliers and contractors.  Perhaps even more important are the legacies that are derived from this effort - particularly in bringing momentum to sustainability in golf.  

The guidelines that we will be producing will go on to multiply lower impact golf events around the world in years to come, and of course the leadership of Ryder Cup Europe has already been extended as a result of their decision last year to introduce sustainability criteria into the bidding for the 2018 and all future Ryder Cup venues.”

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