Behind this week’s sporting drama lies an important initiative to lighten the environmental footprint and to continue to promote nature and sustainability.
Initially launched with support from the European Commission at Valderrama in 1997, the Ryder Cup Green Drive has expanded in scope and reach at each European edition of the event.
Ryder Cup Europe Director, Richard Hills, said: “We were one of the first major sporting events to sign up to the French Government Charter for eco-responsible events at the time of the 2017 Open de France, and since then we have been working closely with our partners, suppliers and contractors to deliver a greener and more sustainable Ryder Cup.”
Launch of the Green Drive earlier in 2018 by Jonathan Smith, Executive Director GEO Foundation; Pascal Grizot, Director of Ryder Cup Organising Committee of France; and Richard Hills, Director Ryder Cup Europe
Actions have spanned golf course and venue maintenance; spectator transport; off site separation and recycling of waste; energy efficiency; and with a significant proportion of sustainable food feeding into catering.
One hot spot for activity has been the media centre, with local food, provision of refillable water bottles in partnership with BMW; a water refill station; and minimising paper and plastic use.
Public transport has also been a key theme, with the fully subscribed Ryder Cup Travel Pass bringing an estimated 100,000 spectators to le Golf National by train and bus. Car sharing has also been incentivised through the pricing model.
Spectators have also been kept informed and encouraged to get involved, with information provided through the official programme, media centre briefings, commentator notes, regular tweets via @sustainablegolf, tournament TV features and information panels. Fans have also been encouraged to get involved in the Environmental Photo Competition, submitting an image and caption with the chance of winning official merchandise.
Out on the course, home to over 350 species of biodiversity as identified by the National Natural History Museum of France, the international greenkeeping team have been cutting the greens with twenty fully electric Jacobsen mowers. In addition, a new Toro irrigation system has helped cut overall water use by 40% in the last three years and Le Golf National’s drive on recycling now means over 340 tonnes of waste is reused and recycled every year.
The Jacobsen fleet includes 20 fully electric and 5 hybrid mowers.
Earlier this year Le Golf National successfully retained the GEO Certified® label for their work to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community. The GEO Foundation is an international non-profit dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf and the sustainability partner to Ryder Cup Europe.
Le Golf National is one of a growing number of golf facilities around the world who are demonstrating leadership in sustainability, using OnCourse®, the widely endorsed sustainability tool, and gaining recognition by GEO Foundation (www.getoncourse.golf and www.sustainable.golf).
Julie Duffus, Olympic Movement Sustainability Manager at the International Olympic Committee added: “Le Golf National is an excellent example of how a sustainable and successful Olympic Venue can be planned, designed, constructed and operated. Our Congratulations to the team for their efforts and success on retaining GEO Certified Status. We look forward to working together in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2024”.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director at GEO Foundation, said: “It is great to see this kind of voluntary action, delivered in line with the 15 commitments of the government ‘eco-durable’ Charter – resulting in a comprehensive approach, that addresses a wide range of priority environmental and social responsibility issues.
Information panels to inform and engage the spectators.