Today is Earth Day 2022, an annual event which demonstrates support for environmental protection, and here we will reflect on the sustainability measures implemented at last month’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International (ASLI).
While England’s Georgia Hall was taking top honours during the tournament, behind the scenes a lot of work had gone into improving the sustainability measures at the event.
When the inaugural event took place in 2020, there was an announcement that Saudi Arabia had also created a comprehensive national golf sustainability strategy that looked to embrace innovative culture and ambitious outlook across key environmental, economic and social aspects of the sport.
And in early December 2020, the Ladies European Tour (LET) launched Celebrating the Green presented by Dow, which aims to recognise and celebrate the sustainability activity – environmental, human, social and economic – stemming from layers, partners, tournaments and venues.
From energy to food consumption, clothing to infrastructure to social sustainability initiatives, measures were implemented across all facets of ASLI.
Aggreko came on board as a partner for ASLI, and they will also be there for the Aramco Team Series events, and during the tournament there was a 500 sq ft solar farm in the village which powered 90% of the village in the daytime.
Small solar units were used to top up energy, while efficient battery banks powered the electronic leaderboard and solar panels were used to charge four new shuttle buggies which carried guests between the village and the 16th hole.
Clothing from sustainable fashion company REBORN, which is produced from recycled plastics, was worn by volunteers, staff, media and Pro-Am guests.
With such a hot climate, air conditioning is used at the tournament, but grey water created by the units is collected and reused for landscaping, while an electric mower was trialled during the week too.
Silver Spoon delivered hospitality throughout ASLI and they were able to be 98% plastic free with many objects also made from compostable material; local mint tees and honey were used and there was an authentic Saudi experience with a more traditional menu showcasing the culture. Portion sizes were reduced to prevent food wastage and new bins were introduced to improve the segmentation of waste
Infrastructure such as the 18th green Majlis and hospitality units and 1st tee viewing platform being reused across Golf Saudi owned tournaments ensured a reduction in transport to the site, while Infinity/Premium Tawkilat provided a range of hybrid vehicles for courtesy cars with carpooling happening.
In terms of social sustainability, there were three key initiatives during the week: first up was Ladies Day on Friday 18th March which was a celebration of women’s golf and inspiring Saudi females with free entertainment, golf clinics and tuition available.
LET tournament winner Alice Hewson, who proudly represents EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association), was on hand in the week to show and teach six children with disabilities from the Disabled Children’s Association King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Center For Disabled Children – Jeddah about the game of golf.
There was also the launch of the first ever Arabic Golf Education and Training programme providing 2200 future jobs to the unemployed, school leavers or people with disabilities.