Earth Day commitment from Solheim Cup

The organisers of The 2019 Solheim Cup have today launched the event’s sustainability initiative, which sees a wave of additional efforts to minimise the climate and environmental footprint of the event, while at the same time maximising the conservation of wildlife. Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population.

The comprehensive plan, which also integrates key elements of social inclusion, diversity and equality, is being led by the Scottish Government in close partnership with the event’s Sustainability Partner, GEO Foundation - the Scotland based non-profit that specialises in promoting sustainability in and through golf around the world. 

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “We are delighted to see, and support, the voluntary leadership on display here, promoted through this globally recognised sporting event. We will launch Scotland’s pioneering Climate Bill in September, so we are especially pleased that carbon and climate are also being addressed in an integrated approach, and especially with the clear links between climate change and pressures on wildlife and ecosystems”.

The plan is also supported by the other event partners and stakeholders, including Gleneagles, IMG, the Ladies European Tour, LPGA, Scottish Golf and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, which is leading the staging and delivery of the event on behalf of The Scottish Government, said: “Great golf and nature-rich landscapes go hand in hand, so we are taking this opportunity to reinforce the importance of biodiversity – both to golf and to society at large. It is important major events such as the 2019 Solheim Cup recognise and minimise the impact on the environment and we hope our direct actions and indirect influences will encourage greater nature conservation across golf in Scotland and further afield.”

Matching with the central theme of Earth Day 2019, the Solheim Cup is seeking to actively “Protect Our Species”, and with 19 ecologically protected areas on and around the golf courses, there is plenty of iconic Scottish wildlife at Gleneagles.

Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation added: “The world is facing a rate of biodiversity loss that humanity has never seen before, and with our clear dependencies on the natural world, time is of the essence. That makes it all the more important for major influencers, such as the Solheim Cup and greenspaces, such as golf courses, to take action – and when that happens, it can be hugely beneficial and inspiring to many others.”

Some of the key environmental sustainability action areas for the Solheim Cup include:

•    Reducing the carbon footprint 
-    Public transport, car sharing, using the efficient park and ride service, clean fuels and by engaging with local suppliers and contractors
•    Achieving ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’
-    Avoiding single-use materials, making sure all materials are separated for re-use and recycling
•    Conserving nationally and internationally important habitats
-    Protect the 19 designated areas on Gleneagles Estate and the rare and iconic Scottish wildlife
•    Promoting sustainability to more people
-    Engaging in, and promoting, green activities. 

These are complemented by a wide range of social responsibility actions that centre on diversity and inclusion, including the Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Diversity Summit, affordable ticketing and volunteering rewards scheme. Other areas of focus include access and provisions for people with disabilities, junior golf development experiences and promotion of the health and wellbeing value of golf for families.

With a host of accessible and family-friendly activities on offer, The Scottish Government aims for this to be the most family-focused golf event ever held in Scotland with tickets for adults priced from just £10 and those aged 16 and under admitted free of charge.

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For more examples of how golf is helping conserve biodiversity, as well as conserve resources and strengthen communities, take a look at the Sustainability Highlights here:

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