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Ryder Cup Sets New Standards For Sustainable Sporting Events5 min read

Posted on: 27th May 2015

Ryder Cup Sets New Standards for Sustainable Sporting Events

The 2014 Ryder Cup yet again stepped forward as one of the world’s leading sustainable events, generating significant benefits to the community and environment, a new report released this week has concluded.

The Green Drive, led by key partners and engaging dozens of suppliers and contractors, ensured reductions in the event’s resource footprint, while maximising opportunities to deliver positive social and environmental legacies.

To download a copy of the report visit: www.golfenvironment.org/ryder_cup_2014_greendrive

Key findings in the report, ‘A Review of The 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive’, include:

  • High standards of environmental management and community outreach carried out by Gleneagles Resort, and Junior Ryder Cup venue, Blairgowrie Golf Club, including ecologically led site protection and restoration plans;
  • Promotion of the Scottish Food and Drink Sustainability Charter ensured that local, seasonal and healthy food which met high welfare standards was sourced.  As an example, Fabulous Feasts sourced 68 percent of all produce from Scottish suppliers;
  • Careful site planning and protection with monitoring by the Green Drive team ensured zero environmental incidents resulted from the staging of the event;
  • Morrisons Construction substantially cut the footprint of one of the few aspects of permanent infrastructure – recycling on-site materials to avoid more than 600 lorry loads and 28,000 road milesduring the construction of the park and ride bus terminals, a key project in reducing car mileage and congestion around the venue;
  • The lower carbon transport plan resulted in more than 7,500 additional spectators per day travelling by rail, straight into the newly refurbished Gleneagles rail station, and 181,744 spectators travelling on collective bus transportation from the three remote park and ride hubs;
  • As part of the successful Zero Waste to Landfill policy, supported by lead contractors William Tracey and Spectrum, an extensive reuse and recycling scheme ensured that PVC, glass, timber and more than 70 percent of the vinyl, carpet and Astroturf from the main hospitality suites was redistributed to community groups;
  • An effective energy management strategy, including a daily ‘power down’ and the use of bio-fuel in generators resulted in Aggreko delivering a 10 percent reduction in anticipated temporary power carbon emissions;
  • In partnership with the Scottish Government, Perth and Kinross Council and the Scottish Golf Union, four Green Drive Legacy projects continue to deliver valuable community / environmental activities across Perthshire.

Edward Kitson, Ryder Cup Match Director, said “We are delighted to see how many practical results the Green Drive delivered across such a wide range of aspects of the event – from the venue management to staging to legacies and also in communicating and promoting sustainability. This information is now being shared with the organisers of The 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, and at the same time the bidding nations for The 2022 Ryder Cup are currently outlining their sustainability plans in their submissions.  With the European Tour Green Drive also moving forward apace, it’s clear to see just how much importance we place on bringing value to the environment and communities alongside world-class sport”.

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, said:  “The global spotlight was firmly fixed on Scotland in 2014, and The Ryder Cup was the perfect platform to showcase our nation’s breathtaking natural environment and world-class food and drink.  The Ryder Cup Green Drive included many innovative measures to make the event as sustainable as possible, including promoting the fantastic natural larder we have on our doorstep. I now look forward to seeing how this valuable experience can help raise knowledge and standards for the golf sector, as well as other major events in Scotland during our Year of Food and Drink and beyond.”

The Green Drive was coordinated by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO), a non-profit group which has worked closely as the sustainability partner to Ryder Cup Europe since 2006.   GEO worked collaboratively with a wide-range of partners and stakeholders including the likes of Gleneagles Resort, Event Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.


Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO said:  “Ryder Cup Europe continues to demonstrate an outstanding commitment to sustainability, and The 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive has shown again how important it is to take a team approach at major sporting events. We look forward to continuing to work with Ryder Cup, other golf tournaments and golf organisations around the world, to build upon successes and lessons from Gleneagles to further golf’s position as a sustainability leader in sport.”

Dr Susie Tomson, Project Manager for the initiative added: “Having worked with the London Olympics it is fantastic to see events such as The Ryder Cup taking yet further steps to deliver across all aspects of sustainability. Ryder Cup has really set the benchmark for other golf tournament organisers.”

Linked to research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University, the report also identified the success of efforts to promote the initiative and raise spectator awareness – leading organisers to conclude that this was a clear area of opportunity for the future:

  • 25 percent of spectators were aware of the Green Drive initiative
  • 65 percent were aware of the Zero Waste Policy and promotion of recycling
  • 24 percent noticed the FairTrade information at food outlets
  • 45 percent were willing to consider a financial contribution to the initiative if they knew it was going towards worthy social and environmental causes around the event

To download a copy of the report visit: www.golfenvironment.org/ryder_cup_2014_greendrive

Zero Waste Scotland, a member of the 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive steering group, has published a new guide to help event organisers to plan and deliver environmentally sustainable events.  The guide, which builds on learnings from high-profile events hosted by Scotland during 2014, including the Ryder Cup 2014 along with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The guide can be can be downloaded at http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/resource/how-plan-and-deliver-environmentally-sustainable-events.

For more information on the Ryder Cup visit www.rydercup.com.