St Andrews Links Trust, which manages seven courses including the Old Course, has again earned the prestigious GEO Certified® ecolabel in recognition of its long-term sustainability commitment and achievements.
St Andrews Links was the first Open venue to achieve the certification in 2011 with the re-certification coming as the Old Course prepares to host the 144th Open in July 2015.
The Links has operated a sustainability programme for many years with GEO’s three-yearly re-certification process highlighting the high standards for sustainable management of links turf based on traditional practices.
In his re-certification report, third party verifier Mike Wood highlighted a number of sustainability initiatives being taken at the Links, including improvement in waste reduction, energy conservation and water conservation and significant improvements in the proportions of supplies sourced from within a 100 mile distance band.
The independent verification describes the appointment by the Links of full-time Environmental Officer, and R&A greenkeeping scholar, James Hutchinson in 2014 as a “significant pioneering step” to raise the level of commitment to develop and implement environmental management work, and increase the public profile of sustainability issues in the work of the Links.
St Andrews Links Trust Chief Executive Euan Loudon said: “One of the values underpinning our work here on a daily basis is to be responsible custodians of this special place, which is reflected in a number of ways not least our commitment to ensuring conservation of the living landscape of the Links to help St Andrews’ social and economic vitality.
“This has been a dedicated element of our work here for a number of years, which makes it especially pleasing that the re-certification review identified significant improvements since 2011. This is a source of tremendous pride for everyone associated with the Links as we have not rested on our laurels. The appointment of James as Environmental Officer highlights the work in continuing to improve and explore new ways of enhancing our commitment to sustainability.”
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO, said: “As the most iconic place in golf we are delighted that St Andrews Links Trust continues to develop and implement innovative measures within their stewardship of nature, effective and efficient resource management, and community involvement. This ongoing positive social and environmental contribution will help drive sustainability throughout golf and we look forward to sharing this great story with a global audience in what is a hugely significant year for St Andrews.”