Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore is now officially the world’s first carbon neutral golf club, delivering on a commitment made during golf’s HSBC Women’s World Championship in 2021.
As part of its sustainability commitment, and to complement ongoing carbon abatement efforts identified during its carbon profiling, the club has offset 5,000 tonnes of CO2, the annual equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 12.4m miles driven by an average petrol-powered car and CO2 emissions from 630 homes’ energy usage.
Since April 2021, the club has with the support of its members set aside $1 from every round of golf to procure high quality carbon credits from the Katingan Mentaya Project (Indonesia) and Cordillera Azul National Park (Peru).
The Cordillera Azul National Park project helps restore degraded forestry, preventing 25.2 million tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere to date, as well as supporting 665 jobs in the local community, 40% of which are held by women; whilst the Katingan Mentaya Project protects more than 150,000 hectares of peat swamp forest, generating 7.5 million carbon credits – its impact equivalent to removing two million cars off the road each year.
Following on from its initial pledge, Sentosa Golf Club’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality formed part of its commitment to the UN Sports for Climate Action Race to Zero initiative, as well as the Sentosa Carbon Neutral Network, with a number of steps taken to compensate its carbon footprint, all under the umbrella of its sustainability campaign, GAME ON.
The club was also the first in Asia to introduce carbon products in the form of Biochar into their agronomy programme to help remove more carbon from the atmosphere.
Other initiatives, pioneered over a decade of work, were identified to help with the reduction of scope 1-3 carbon, including a state-of-the-art irrigation system and agronomy equipment that creates efficiencies and minimises product wastage seen by over-fertilisation and watering.
The introduction of an all-electric golf cart fleet powered with lithium batteries, car charging stations and waste digesters, also helps to grind down food and horticultural waste to re-use as fertiliser on the golf course. Further initiatives were also introduced to increase energy efficiency, resulting in the clubhouse being awarded the Green Mark Certification.
These complement other on-course efforts that saved over 300 different species of trees during the redevelopment of the club’s Tanjong course, and the introduction of stingless bee colonies on-site that thrive in an ecosystem alongside otters, peacocks, long-tail macaques and other migratory and native birds. Endangered mangrove species situated in The Serapong Lagoon and heritage sites such as Fort Berhala Reping have also been preserved within the natural landscape of the golf courses.
General Manager and Director of Agronomy Andrew Johnston is certainly proud of the club’s achievement as the world’s first carbon neutral golf club.
“Ever since we began to share the importance of our sustainability journey back in 2018, we have always been focused on becoming an industry leader and inspiring others to follow suit by implementing eco-friendly initiatives to help reduce our overall carbon footprint,” said Johnston, highlighting the importance of this historic milestone for the golf industry.
“Hopefully this is just the beginning and more clubs around the world will commit to becoming carbon neutral in the near future.”
Sentosa Golf Club joins others in the sporting world, such as English Football League side, Forest Green Rovers, who became the world’s first carbon neutral football club, with the likes of Formula 1 and World Athletics both making carbon neutral pledges in recent years.
Singapore's Sentosa Golf Club has continued to underline its status as one of Asia’s leading golf clubs after collecting two headline accolades at the annual World Golf Awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
The club was named the ‘World’s Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility’ for the third consecutive year, as well as ‘Asia’s Best Golf Course’, a new and special award unveiled for the first time this year.
Under the stewardship of General Manager and Director of Agronomy, Andrew Johnston, the club has once again demonstrated its commitment to sustainability that was first globally recognised in 2018 at the SMBC Singapore Open. Over the last twelve months, it has not only continued to work towards its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral golf club, but also achieved GEO Certification status for its preservation of the environment and ongoing development of sustainable initiatives.
The club’s ongoing sustainability campaign, 'Game On', also acts as a reminder and awareness driver within the community, of the importance of the global golf industry creating climate responsibility and protecting the environment.
The Serapong has also received the prestigious new accolade of ‘Asia’s Best Golf Course’. The famous championship layout is renowned for its unique personality, overall character, and world-class ‘tournament’ conditions, which have made it one of the region’s most renowned golf courses.
As well as drawing plaudits from many of the world’s best golfers over its championship years, The Serapong also holds the title for ‘Best Championship Course in Asia-Pacific’ and ‘Best Golf Course in Singapore’, both recently acquired in the latest edition of the Asian Golf Awards in Vietnam.
Laguna Lang Co has restated its credentials as one of Vietnam’s most sustainable large-scale projects by retaining its EarthCheck “Gold Certification” for 2022.
One of Asia’s most far-reaching integrated resorts, Laguna Lang Co encompasses award-winning hotels Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co, as well as Laguna Golf Lang Co, a signature design by golf legend Sir Nick Faldo.
Located in a part of Vietnam renowned for its pristine nature, Laguna Lang Co prides itself on having a strong focus on sustainability. Notable initiatives include a moratorium on single-use plastics and its “edible golf course” planted with rice fields and tended by water buffalos.
EarthCheck is regarded as the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism. And the retention of Gold status is another key indicator of a successful wider sustainability push by Laguna Lang Co.
“Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and we are fortunate enough to have one of its most visually stunning sites,” said Adam Calver, Director of Golf and Destination Marketing at Laguna Lang Co. “Our resort can be viewed as an escape to nature and we are determined to do everything in our power to preserve its unique qualities.”
The resort has completely eradicated the use of single-use plastics in almost all aspects of its operations, and has finalized the installation of its own water bottling plant to allow the resort to completely eliminate plastic water bottles and utilize reusable glass bottles.
Other key green initiatives at the resort include a tree-planting program aimed at increasing tree cover for local unused land and providing a new income source for underprivileged communities in Lang Co. The species — Melaleuca quinquenervia — is efficient in oil production and brings higher economic returns than traditional indigenous tree varieties.
Additional programs feeding into the EarthCheck accolade include trash collecting activities, sponsorship of underprivileged youths through the resort’s Seedlings Mentorship Program, and sustainability workshops in local communities conducted by Laguna Lang Co Sustainability Officers.
The resort is also focused on its successful “Greater Good Grant” initiative. Launched in 2020, the program offers sustainability projects around Vietnam access to eco grants. With the initiative ongoing, the resort is encouraging applicants to come forward and take advantage of financial support that will help them build a better future.
“To continue to keep EarthCheck Gold Certificate status and achieve a higher EarthCheck certificate in the future, we need to work hard and pay more attention to protect the environment and community,” noted Calver. “We are passionate about being an industry-leader for sustainability here in Vietnam. We need to deliver a clean, safe, prosperous, and healthy destination for travellers to visit, live, work, and play at our resort.”
Golf Saudi has once again shown its commitment to sustainability by announcing during this week’s Aramco Team Series-Jeddah that four of its golf clubs have successfully achieved certification by the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf.
Dirab Golf & Country Club in Riyadh, along with Riyadh Golf Club and Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Jeddah, have been recognized for meeting the international standard for sustainability in golf and agreeing to further improvement over the next three years.
Also, often renowned for its sustainability initiatives, Safaa Golf Club in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), maintained and operated by Mohawarean Specialized Golf Services (MGS), achieved the certification for its commitment, understanding and efforts. It is the first private golf facility in Saudi Arabia to achieve certification in cooperation with the KAUST Environmental Management Department.
The GEO Foundation is an international non-profit entirely dedicated to helping accelerate sustainability in and through golf.
In 2020, Golf Saudi launched its comprehensive National Golf Sustainability Strategy which embraced an innovative culture and ambitious outlook across key environmental, economic and social aspects of the sport. A key component of the strategy was ensuring that all golf clubs in Saudi Arabia work through a set of continual improvement points that will guide their sustainability progress. By achieving GEO certification, these courses are now all on a journey to continue to improve, invest and enhance their sites to foster fauna and flora, conserve natural resources, support their communities and focus on climate related actions.
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
Commenting on the four clubs’ achievement, His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation, said: "Ever since the formation of Golf Saudi, we have continued to demonstrate the strength of our collective commitment as well as our leadership in sustainability.
"Following news of GEO certification across four clubs in the Kingdom shows that we are on track in our journey towards playing an active part in our sport’s contribution to prioritising environmental and climate issues. This follows on last year’s news when Golf Saudi became an official signatory of the UN Sport for Climate Framework, confirming our collective mission to contribute actively to Saudi’s Vision 2030 and to be a part of the Kingdom’s low-carbon future.”
Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director of GEO Foundation, said: “It is encouraging to see Golf Saudi making progress in the delivery of their national sustainability strategy. Two years on from the launch of this comprehensive framework, the national association continues to provide direction for all involved in golf in Saudi Arabia and this now extends to these four facilities, which have received GEO certification in light of work to date and also commitments for continual improvement.”
Golf Saudi has set out a wide range of golf industry policies around carbon and climate, ecosystem restoration, the circular economy and water stewardship. These policies caught the eye of both Safaa Golf Club and MGS, in particular General Manager Nicholas Davies.
“To work firsthand with both teams to ensure that we not only implement the highest standards but also build environmental innovation into the development and operation of our facility. Some of our key focuses are ecosystem restoration through golf here within KAUST; harnessing renewable energy; comprehensive water resource management; and building circularity into our club’s supply chain,” said Davis.
All clubs will also have their carbon balances calculated, tracking all data needed for emissions and sequestration through OnCourse Saudi digital platform provided by GEO Foundation.
For further information, visit www.golfsaudi.com
The European Tour group has become the first professional golf tour to announce its commitment towards net zero carbon emissions as a recent signatory to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework and Race to Zero pledge.
The Sports for Climate Action Framework was created by the United Nations and made for sports organisations and their stakeholders to tackle climate change through a set of five principles:
1. Undertaking systematic efforts to promote greater environmental sustainability
2. Reducing overall climate impact
3. Educating for climate action
4. Promoting sustainable and responsible consumption
5. Advocating for climate action through communication
The Race to Zero pledge requires all signatories to commit to reduce direct emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040. The initiative will be a key focus of Golf for Good, the European Tour group’s commitment to Driving Golf Further in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
“The group’s DP World Tour is a global brand with millions of followers, so we have a clear responsibility and opportunity to use our platforms in the right way. Our net zero commitment shows that through Golf for Good we are serious about environmental responsibility and the role we can play," said Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour group.
“Our staff and leadership, under the guidance of our Head of Sustainability, are determined to ensure we fully meet all our pledges, and we appreciate the support of our expert partners and advisers in helping us do so. Of course, we also invite our partners and stakeholders to join us in making effective change.”
The tour’s Green Drive initiative has grown in scale and impact over several years and was re-launched on World Environment Day last year. Its most recent Sustainability Strategy, available here, further aligns Green Drive with the tour’s wider Golf for Good programme to create a new, holistic approach to sustainable development.
Detailed implementation plans are already underway spanning governance, operations, tournaments, venues, media and technology, communications and partnerships. Sustainability performance indicators and carbon emissions are being tracked across all aspects of the tour’s operations through new internal mechanisms, and tools provided by the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf.
“The Sports for Climate Action Framework is about driving sports to net zero emissions no later than 2040 in line with keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It is no small or easy undertaking, but to safeguard the future of sport, we all must all join hands and efforts to win the race against climate change," said Lindita Xhaferi Salihu, UN Sports for Climate Action Lead.
"We look forward to working with the Tour alongside other signatories to set the pace for climate action and achieve the ambitious goals we have set for the Sports for Climate Action community.”
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of the non-profit GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, the delivery partner to the European Tour group’s Green Drive programme, added: “Over the last 12 months there has been a significant upscaling of commitment, resourcing and action across the European Tour group – led by the Board. We are delighted to help guide the ongoing development of the Tour’s emissions reduction strategy; support effective delivery; and track progress through externally accredited programmes and tools developed over many years for this specific purpose.”