WM Phoenix Open sets sustainability standard
The “biggest show in the world” in golf is also currently its “greenest show in the world”. The WM Phoenix Open, held annually at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, has been the largest zero-waste sporting event in the world for eight consecutive years. This means that at the golf tournament, which also attracts the highest number of spectators on the PGA Tour each year, 100% of all waste is either recycled or reused in some other form. Disposal does not take place. In addition, title sponsor Waste Management, one of the largest waste management companies in the U.S., has also set a goal to reduce all CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2020.
Best practice for tournament organizers
What the Americans are delivering in terms of sustainability at this tournament, 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 the GEO in London and the ISO20121 standard. The latter defines the requirements for a sustainable approach to an event economic, social and environmental aspects.
The World Cup Phoenix Open also offsets all CO₂ emissions except for the travel of the fans, while at the same time there are projects in numerous areas to reduce these very emissions. For twelve years, they have been working exclusively with renewable energies, biodiesel or gas. Superstructures consist to a high degree of recycled material. In 2022, 63.5% of waste was recycled, 24.5% was composted, 10.3% was converted to energy, and 1.7%, such as food and building materials, was donated to charity. The waste balance of the event is 0.
Mobility the biggest CO₂ causer
However, it is also interesting to note where the CO₂ emissions for the tournament, which amounted to 83883.6 MtCO₂ in 2022, came from. The number of spectators at the tournament has not been published for several years, but it is believed to be between 600,000 and 700,000 per week.
In fact, the fans cause by far the highest CO₂ emissions during the tournament week. In 2022, “fan Transportation” amounted to 74955.0 MtCo2, while the Player Transportation item, which includes player travel, was 135.6 MtCo2. By way of comparison, the CO₂ emissions of all foodstuffs used, the second-largest item, were calculated at only 3746.2 MtCo2, and the expenditure for IT services at 30.2 MtCo2.
The title sponsor offsets all CO₂ emissions except for fan travel. 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 2021 also made accurate CO₂ calculations for players and fans as well as the mobility of support staff and VIP guests for the first time, the aim now is to improve the balance year by year. Waste Management has therefore also changed its own slogan: From “Think Green” to “For Tomorrow”. After all, the greenest spectacle in the world should still be around in 30 years.