Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Hero Dubai Desert Classic Earns the First GEO Tournament Certification in the DP World Tour Rolex Series

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The Hero Dubai Desert Classic (HDDC) is making history as the premier golf event in the Middle East, and the first in the DP World Tour Rolex Series to secure the esteemed GEO Certified Tournament status.

Securing GEO certification is a hallmark for some of the globe’s top golf venues and events, signaling their tangible efforts and impacts toward a broader sustainability objective.

This distinction, awarded by the international non-profit GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, pays homage to the robust commitment of the HDDC to sustainability and the depth of its actions in reducing the event’s carbon footprint.

“We are delighted that the Dubai Desert Classic is the first golf event in the Middle East to achieve this important distinction, and milestone,” Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director for the HDDC, said in a statement. “It speaks to our strong dedication to tackling priority environmental and social issues.”

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment at the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, also lauded the achievement. “With 2023 being the Year of Sustainability in the UAE, and as the country prepares to host COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the Dubai Desert Classic’s certification is a laudable achievement and a meaningful step towards achieving the wider, national Net Zero objectives.”

a golf ball at the hole
Photo courtesy Soheb Zaidi

The path to becoming GEO Certified involves adhering to a wide range of sustainability themes and action areas, backed by detailed best practices that are evaluated and scored. During the HDDC, multiple measures were adopted in accordance with this framework. The tournament widely used solar power, notably in the Media Centre and in 80% of the fan zone. In an effort to reduce plastic waste, they established free water refill stations that have diverted 80,000 single-use plastic bottles from landfills since 2022.

Contributing to Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050, the HDDC used 100 percent biofuel for temporary generators, achieving up to 92 percent fewer carbon emissions compared to traditional diesel generators.

An extensive recycling and composting program was implemented to reduce waste, while a digital ticketing and program strategy was adopted. Moreover, the event’s ‘Park and Plant’ initiative planted three trees for each car that attended the event.

Encouraging more tournaments to embrace sustainable practices, Andrew Lynch, Head of Sustainability for the European Tour group, said, “We encourage all of our valued tournament promoters to join the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in making their tournaments a true showcase for sustainability.”

Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, hailed the HDDC team for crafting and executing a comprehensive sustainability strategy.

“Credit to the leadership and team,” Smith said. “Over the last three years they have built out a comprehensive sustainability strategy; and then with determination, creativity and collaboration rolled this out across all areas of the event.”

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