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TOUR Championship recognized for commitments, actions, progress in sustainability

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An aerial view of East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, host of the TOUR Championship. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

An aerial view of East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, host of the TOUR Championship. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

International certification achieved for the first time in tournament history

    Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM

    ATLANTA – The 2023 edition of the TOUR Championship has become a GEO Certified® tournament for the first time in the event’s history, recognizing its sustainability commitments, actions and progress.

    The PGA TOUR’s season finale received the international award for sustainability in golf, overseen by Scotland-based GEO Sustainable Golf Foundation, reflecting measures across the staging, communications, and legacies of the event.

    The 2023 event met specific criteria outlined in the voluntary standard for Sustainable Golf tournaments, which embodies requirements for planning, delivery and continual improvement across a comprehensive suite of key sustainability themes and action areas including energy, waste and resource management, site protection and procurement, as well as social impacts and legacies. The independent third-party verification was carried out by the Council for Responsible Sport with a thorough review by GEO Certification Ltd., and agreement to various "Continual Improvement Points" for future editions of the event.

    “Congratulations to the TOUR Championship on achieving this distinction for the first time,” said Jonathan Smith, executive director of the GEO Sustainable Golf Foundation. “It is wonderful to see the event step forward as another pioneer in the wider PGA TOUR initiative and to use the standard and certification process as a framework for action, target setting and measurement of progress for the years ahead. Congratulations to the tournament team, all supporting partners and contributors. We look forward to seeing continued progress through the years ahead.”

    The 2023 TOUR Championship marked the official launch of the PGA TOUR’s sustainability program with a vision to lead, partner and inspire to take climate action and promote nature. The PGA TOUR Partner Connect Sustainability Summit brought together key leaders from corporations connected to the TOUR, including the event’s Proud Partners, to discuss how the environmental impact of events can be minimized while positive multipliers and legacies for nature and communities can be increased.

    “This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration from the Atlanta community and especially our Proud Partners – Accenture, The Coca-Cola Company and Southern Company,” said Alex Urban, executive director of the TOUR Championship. “We look forward to continuing our commitment to build a more sustainable tournament as we work to improve and innovate for the 2024 event, and exhibit a more eco-friendly experience for our players, partners and fans.”

    The recognition is a significant step on the tournament’s sustainability journey. As part of the certification process, the TOUR Championship achieved high marks across the priority areas of event planning, staging operations, communications and legacies.

    Highlights from the initiatives observed during the event and through submitted evidence included:

    • Climate action: 100% renewable energy provided through Southern Company via battery-powered and renewable diesel generators onsite, renewable energy certificates and renewable natural gas delivered to East Lake’s clubhouse throughout the week.
    • Recycling: Scrim and plastic merchandise wrapping collected and repurposed post-event.
    • Waste reduction: From material guidelines, including alternative options and emphasizing minimization, provided to all vendors through the Procurement Plan, through to composting in all back-of-house kitchens and hospitality suites.
    • Supporting local: Prioritizing local and seasonal products by catering provider, Proof of Pudding. Little Greens, an Atlanta-based vegetarian food outlet featured for first time. Excess food was donated to the local community.
    • Community impact: The work of the East Lake Foundation is a key part of the TOUR Championship with featured events including school trips, supporting Executive Women’s event and "Tee up ATL." The First Tee Game Changer Pavilion drew 3,250 visitors throughout the week.
    • Communications and awareness: Sustainability focused engagement through the operations team with the East Lake Foundation and other beneficiaries, partners, and vendors. Other activations included Southern Company’s Good Energy Pavilion and Coca-Cola Waste Challenge.

    “At Southern Company, we are immensely proud that the TOUR Championship has been recognized as a GEO Certified® Tournament,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Chris Womack. “Delivering 100% renewable energy for the TOUR Championship and driving sustainability on course links up with our company goal off the course – achieving net zero emissions across our electric and gas businesses by 2050.”

    The TOUR Championship will make a return to Labor Day weekend in 2024, with tournament dates set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1, as the PGA TOUR’s top 30 players compete in the FedExCup Playoffs finale for their chance to win the FedExCup and the season title.

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