Golf, perhaps more than any other sport, has a unique connection with nature and the land the game is played on. This organic relationship is why many of golf’s biggest tournaments are focused on bringing sustainability to the forefront and taking positive actions for the environment.
Both on and off the golf course, Dow and WM are leaders in advancing sustainability and developing more eco-friendly solutions. WM’s broad reach as a comprehensive environmental solutions provider combined with Dow’s leadership in material science is bringing new levels of sustainability and innovation to communities and tournaments.
At this week’s inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational, which combines PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour players in a unique mixed-gender format, the two companies are working together to further enhance the event’s sustainability program by addressing key environmental objectives to reduce impacts, analyzing the tournament’s footprint, and developing a phased emissions reduction plan.
Events like the Grant Thornton Invitational, WM Phoenix Open, and Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, provide opportunities to educate and raise awareness of environmental issues and sustainability, reaching millions of golf fans, sponsors and vendors.
“Through creative collaborations with like-minded companies such as WM, we can help ensure the well-being of people and the planet through the power of sport,” 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.”
Along with improving overall sustainability in golf, Dow and WM are committed to amplifying equality and inclusivity in the sport. This week, the companies are hosting an event aimed at inspiring and growing female representation in golf and in their diverse workforces.
The collaboration this week builds on WM and Dow’s support for a more expansive U.S. recycling system. Last November, the companies launched an initiative to improve residential collection for hard-to-recycle plastic films, such as grocery bags, shrink wrap, and dry-cleaning bags. In select markets, residents can place these materials directly in their curbside recycling bins and WM will process them at its 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.
WM has been helping reduce the environmental impact in golf since becoming title sponsor of the Phoenix Open in 2010. By 2013, the world’s most-attended golf tournament was a zero-waste event with all materials either recycled, composted, donated, reused or used to recover energy and create fuel. Today, the tournament is internationally recognized as one of the largest certified zero-waste sporting events in the world and serves as a model for other sports leagues, teams and venues. WM is now advising the PGA TOUR on its sustainability strategy and supporting 10 other tournaments in developing comprehensive sustainability programs.
“It’s exciting to see so many organizations tackling big circularity issues like reducing emissions, energy and water usage, while also adopting recycle and compost programs,” said Eric Dixon, Sustainability & Environmental Solutions, WM. “We are witnessing the dawn of a new era of sustainability in sports – something WM has been working toward since we became the title sponsor of the WM Phoenix Open in 2010.”
Likewise, Dow is the Official Sustainability Resource for the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour and has sponsored the LPGA Tour’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational since 2019. The Michigan-based event is committed to minimizing its environmental impacts. Last year, the tournament balanced its direct emissions and water operational footprint, offsetting 100 percent of its unavoidable direct emissions.
“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 for partners to come together and engage athletes, gear manufacturers, venue managers, event operators and fans alike in making more sustainable choices and reducing impacts on the environment.”