R&A upping sustainability drive at the 150th Open

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The Swilcan Bridge on the 18th Fairway of the Old Course, St. Andrews, Fife. Picture Credit: P.Tomkins / VisitScotland / Scottish Viewpoint

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The R&A is expanding its GreenLinks programme with a range of new and enhanced sustainability measures in place for The 150th Open at St Andrews.

Launched in 2016 as a dedicated sustainability, legacy and climate action initiative for The Open, GreenLinks has evolved each year to harness positive change and minimise the environmental and social impact of staging The Open as a major sporting event.

This year, all core emissions will be offset through world-leading ‘Gold Standard’ accredited climate projects which deliver on important aspects of climate justice and also contribute to wider UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Arlette Anderson, Director of Sustainable Golf – The R&A, said, “The Open is a major global sporting event and with the support of our patrons and delivery partners, we are continually striving to do more to play our part in protecting the future of our planet.

“The Open offers an opportunity to showcase golf’s role in positively impacting people and nature, demonstrating responsible resource use and championing climate action. We thank all of our partners in helping us on this journey and committing to our shared aim of continuous improvement.”

For the first time ever this year, the historic Old Course will be mown with a fleet of cutting-edge electric and hybrid-electric Toro equipment. Other new and expanded measures for The 150th Open include:

  • The Open Water Initiative presented by Mastercard will see nearly 50 additional on-site water refill points being introduced. Proceeds from all reusable bottle sales and donations from spectators are being matched by Mastercard, raising funds for the Priceless Planet Coalition with the aim to plant more than 20,000 trees for vital reforestation projects around the world.
  • Reducing single-use plastics in catering with use of sustainable catering consumables across all onsite facilities. All caterers are provided with GEO Foundation single-use plastic ban guidance compliant with Scottish Government new legislation.
  • Combination temporary generators powered by Aggreko using sustainably sourced Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Biofuel and 100m x 10m solar panels along with renewable grid electricity.
  • Mercedes-Benz Electric Vehicles are used within the Championship fleet to transport players and personnel powered by Scottish Power Temporary EV charging units. Walking and cycling is also encouraged with onsite bike parking facilities.
  • All venue caterers adhere to requirement for ethical and local sourcing of produce. All farmed meat and eggs are RSPCA Assured for animal welfare and 65-70% of all produce is sourced within 150 miles of St Andrews. Fairtrade products and principles promoted at The Open and in associated hotels in partnership with the St Andrews Fairtrade Group.
  • A community reuse programme will facilitate redistributing materials of value during build and take down across the local community in partnership with St Andrews Environment Network.
  • RSPB raising awareness of golf and nature and profiling the Old Course.

The R&A is tracking and measuring a wide range of sustainability metrics at The Open using the new OnCourse® Tournaments programme provided by GEO Foundation, including carbon footprint supported by Hope Solutions. The overall GreenLinks programme is planned, implemented and tracked in collaboration with GEO Foundation.

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