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Driving the Green: How Dow and WM are advancing sustainability in golf

4 Min Read


Driving the Green: How Dow and WM are advancing sustainability in golf

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    Golf’s unique connection with nature is central to the sport’s unending allure. This synergy with the land and the elements explains why many tournaments are finding ways to bring sustainability to the forefront and taking positive actions for the environment.

    Dow and WM have established themselves as leaders in advancing sustainability and developing sustainable solutions in a variety of arenas, including golf. WM’s broad reach as a comprehensive environmental solutions provider and Dow’s leadership in material science are bringing new levels of sustainability and innovation to communities and golf tournaments.

    Just as the LPGA and PGA TOUR’s best are teaming up on the golf course at this week’s Grant Thornton Invitational, Dow and WM are working together to enhance the tournament’s sustainability program. The collaboration is addressing key environmental objectives to reduce impact, while also analyzing the event’s footprint to develop a phased emissions reduction plan. By reaching potentially millions of fans, sponsors and vendors, professional golf events like the Grant Thornton Invitational, the WM Phoenix Open and the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational provide unparalleled opportunities to educate and raise awareness of environmental issues and sustainability.

    "Through creative collaborations with like-minded companies such as WM, we can help advance the well-being of people and the planet,” said Carrie Houtman, sustainability director, Dow. “Together, we’re developing a blueprint for sustainability in communities and in sports, helping events like the Grant Thornton Invitational address its environmental footprint.”

    The collaboration at the Grant Thornton Invitational builds on WM and Dow’s continued support for a more expansive recycling system across the country. In November 2022, the two companies announced the launch of a bold new collaboration to improve residential collection for hard-to-recycle plastic films by allowing consumers in select markets to place these materials directly in their curbside recycling.

    Through this work, residents in certain markets can put items such as grocery bags, bread bags, food storage bags, mailer envelopes, shrink wrap and dry-cleaning bags in their curbside recycling bins, and WM will process the material at its nearby recycling facility. Once operating at full capacity, this program is expected to help WM divert more than 120,000 metric tons of plastic film from landfills annually.

    This type of out-of-the-box thinking is nothing new for WM. Soon after becoming the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s Phoenix Open in 2010, WM imagined an event at which nothing is wasted. By 2013, the world’s largest attended golf tournament was a zero-waste event with all materials either recycled, composted, donated, reused or used to recover energy and create fuel. Eleven years later, the WM Phoenix Open is one of the world’s largest certified zero-waste sporting events – a strategic investment for the WM brand that elevates and reinforces WM’s position as a sustainability leader.

    Building on this sustainability and sports industry operations expertise, WM expanded the best practices developed at the WM Phoenix Open to apply to other sports leagues, teams and venues. WM is now advising the PGA TOUR on its sustainability strategy and supporting 10 other professional golf tournaments in developing comprehensive sustainability programs.

    “We are witnessing the dawn of a new era of sustainability in sports," said Eric Dixon, vice president, sustainability and environmental solutions, WM. “Today, WM works with 30 sports and entertainment customers, ranging in scale and covering significantly more events. We’re proud to help create comprehensive sustainability solutions alongside organizations to tackle big circularity issues like reducing emissions, energy and water usage, while also implementing recycling and compost programs.”

    Dow is the Official Sustainability Resource for the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour and has been the title sponsor of the LPGA Tour’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan since 2019. The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational is committed to minimizing all environmental impacts from tournament activities and creating “net positive” outcomes. In 2022, the tournament balanced its direct emissions and water operational footprint, offsetting 100 percent of the tournament’s unavoidable direct emissions.

    Both companies and their respective PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour tournaments work closely with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf (GEO), a Scotland-based non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring, supporting and recognizing sustainability in and through golf around the world. The 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational was the first-ever GEO Certified LPGA event, while the 2017 WM Phoenix Open was the first GEO Certified PGA TOUR event and has been awarded GEO certification each year since. GEO continues to work collaboratively to help the sport embrace environmental and social issues and has become widely acclaimed for its role in fostering nature, conserving resources and building healthy communities, which are key tenets shared by Dow and WM.

    “Golf, like many sports, has the power to drive positive change for our planet’s future,” said Carlos Padilla II, head of global sports partnerships, Dow. “It’s a unique forum to come together and engage athletes, gear manufacturers, venue managers, event operators and fans alike in making more sustainable choices and reducing impact on the environment.”

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