WM Phoenix Open sets sustainability standard

The “biggest show in the world” in golf is also currently its “greenest show in the world”. The World Championship Phoenix Open, which takes place this week with Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson, among others, has been working for years to score points in terms of sustainability. Reason: The title sponsor Waste Management is one of the largest waste disposal companies in the USA.

Best practice for tournament organizers

What the Americans are delivering at this point, regardless of numerous individual projects, is a blueprint for all those event organizers who also want to work on sustainability details. This starts with the certifications by GEO in London and the ISO ISO20121 standard. The latter defines the requirements for a sustainable approach to an event economic, social and environmental aspects.

The Phoenix Open is currently the only tournament in the world that offsets all CO2 emissions, except for the arrival of the fans. However, there are also projects in numerous areas to reduce them. They have been working exclusively with renewable energies, biodiesel or gas for eleven years. Superstructures consist to a high degree of recycled material. In 2021, 59.5% of waste was recycled, 15.4% composted, 11.3% converted to energy and 13.8%, such as food and building materials, was donated to charities. The waste balance of the event is 0.

Mobility the biggest CO₂ causer

It is also interesting to know where the CO₂ emissions for the tournament, which amounted to 4445.4 tons of CO₂ in 2021, come from. When looking at the 2021 numbers, it should be taken into account that due to the corona pandemic, only 5,000 spectators were allowed on site every day. Otherwise, more than half a million spectators are expected in a tournament week.

In fact, the fans cause by far the highest CO₂ emissions during the tournament week. In 2021, the item “Fan Transportation” amounted to 3502.2 tons of CO₂, while the item “Player Transportation”, which also includes the arrival of the players, was 51.2 tons. For comparison: The CO₂ emissions of all construction materials used were only calculated at 277.9 tons, the expense for IT services at 14.1 tons.

The title sponsor offsets all CO₂ emissions except forfans’ travel, which corresponded to 941 tons of CO₂ in 2021. The offset payments benefit the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Crow Lake Wind project , the largest non-profit wind power project in the United States.

After Waste Management made precise CO₂ calculations for players and fans as well as the mobility of support staff and VIP guests for the first time in 2021, it will be interesting to wait and see the balance for 2022. This year the event will take place with far more effort, structures and spectators. It is expected that the record number of 700,000 viewers from 2020 will even be broken.