August 2, 2023
The FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open presented by Trust Golf has achieved the notable milestone of becoming the first GEO Certified® Tournament on the Ladies European Tour, recognising the tournament’s leadership as a more sustainable golf event.
The distinction is awarded and assured by the international non-profit GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, and is based on the strength of commitment, breadth and depth of action, and range of tangible measured impacts across a broad sustainability agenda.
The tournament, run by IMG and co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET, returns to Dundonald Links, Ayrshire, Scotland, this week from August 3-6 under the new title sponsorship of FREED GROUP and supported by long term partners, VisitScotland. The 2022 edition, a prominent example of the LET Celebrating the Green presented by Dow initiative, was recognised for its comprehensive approach to minimising adverse environmental impacts while maximising benefits to the community.
Harry Owen, Senior Director, Golf Events, IMG, said: “The FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open presented by Trust Golf has been inspired on this sustainability journey by our hosts at Dundonald Links and we are thrilled to achieve this notable first on the LET. This was a truly collaborative team effort and our thanks to the many partners and suppliers across the event and for the support through the LPGA Accelerator Grant provided by Dow to access tools and programs to help us track and deliver positive impacts. While we are still at the start of this journey, working towards these industry standards has helped accelerate our actions and results and provided clear areas to continually improve and push boundaries in the years ahead.”
Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Scottish Government, said: “This is a deserved accolade for the pioneering work undertaken by the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open to deliver a world-class golf event that minimises environmental impacts while providing additional benefits to local communities. Their commitment to renewable energy, locally-sourced food and innovative ideas like apparel made from recycled materials are all in keeping with our vision of making Scotland the perfect stage for events.”
Alexandra Armas, CEO of the LET, commented: “Congratulations to the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open on this excellent achievement of being the first LET tournament to achieve GEO Certified tournament status. All of our tournaments are working hard to become the most sustainable that they can be. The Women’s Scottish Open is a great example of the sustainable work being done by the LET community.”
Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director of GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, added: “It is wonderful to see another high-profile professional golf event step forward with the commitment to deliver on and then exceed the sustainable golf standards. In doing so the tournament has built on the longstanding work of Dundonald Links to extend action across legacies and communications with an impressive breadth and depth of work taking place – in protecting and promoting nature; in striving to minimise resource use, waste and emissions; and in engaging with people and communities.”
Highlights from the 2022 Women’s Scottish Open included:
- 85% of the tournament energy supplied through mains supplied renewable energy with few remaining generators powered with sustainability-sourced biofuel (HVO).
- 75% of food sourced by Hickory from within 50 miles of Dundonald Links.
- A comprehensive recycling and waste management programme with zero waste to landfill across the tournament operations.
- Items of apparel, from staff uniforms to caddie and marshal bibs made from recycled materials and used year on year.
- 400 spectators educated by RSPB in relationship between golf and nature.
- A comprehensive awareness campaign #TGSWOGoingforGreen highlighting sustainability initiatives onsite and through social media.
- Golf clinics with leading LET players including Louise Duncan and Catriona Matthew provided for local schoolchildren.
- Water refill points and removal of single use plastic items in public catering.
- Dundonald Links Dundonald Links has won a host of environmental awards and has been GEO Certified since 2013, renewing in 2017 and 2019.
The criteria for the certification of tournaments spans a range of priority sustainability themes and action areas; supported by detailed best practices; which are in turn weighted and scored. A minimum number of points are required to achieve certification. These are verified by an accredited, third party and expert verifier, who visits during event week to observe practices, projects and other activations on site. A verifier report is then submitted to the GEO Certification Ltd team, a subsidiary of the GEO Foundation. If the criteria are met, certification is then awarded accompanied by key Continual Improvement Points.