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Scottish Golf Environment Group


Golf and the Environment - Introduction

Achieving sustainable development is a long term goal. In 1999, the Advisory Group on Sustainable Development set out a 10 point plan for the Scottish Parliament aiming to set out a vision for a Sustainable Scotland by 2030. It defines sustainable development as follows:

"Sustainable development is about the wise use of all resources within a framework in which environmental, economic and social factors are integrated."

The action points contained within this document relevant to the golfing sector include:

  • Support innovation in sustainable development.
    The Scottish Government, in conjunction with the voluntary and private sectors, should encourage new ideas and experiments in sustainable development that could lead to mainstream implementation.
  • Be part of the international dimension of sustainable development
    Scotland should contribute to thinking and activities that go well beyond its own boundaries. Decisions made in Scotland on natural resource use have an impact on the life and environment of other communities in all parts of the world.
  • Put sustainable development at the heart of education, and education at the heart of sustainable development
    The Scottish Executive should ensure that education in all its manifestations – formal and informal, and for all sectors and ages – is incorporated in all policies. Equally, sustainable development should be embedded into the education system.

Golf, as part and parcel of Scotland’s history and tradition, as part of our culture, as a social pastime, as a recreation, as an economy, as a sector of business and as a land use, interacts with all themes of sustainability.

In a report by the Sustainable Development Commission in May 2002 relating to the pioneering of sustainable development by individual sectors it was stated that:

"Sustainable development strategies provide a framework to help business sectors identify and manage economic, environmental and social risks in an integrated way, and to unlock opportunities to improve competitiveness and enhance reputation. There are some key points to remember about such strategies:

  • They are business-owned and therefore an important step in enhancing the profile and effectiveness of voluntary business action.
  • There’s no blueprint – approaches reflect the individual circumstances and priorities of each sector.
  • They build on existing activities and don’t start from a blank sheet of paper.
  • It’s a long term process of continuous improvement – all about learning by doing."

The above government statements highlight a determination that sustainable development must be delivered in the future. It supports the notion of individual sectors establishing their own sustainable development strategies, which when linked to those of other sectors, ensures that the development and management of Scotland’s resources is not detrimental to the quality of life of future generations.

The promotion of sustainability in golf meets the targets for this sectoral acceptance of responsibility. It also meets with the concept of innovation in sustainable development which encourages private and voluntary sectors to work on their own ideas. A project developed in golf could rub off on other associated sectors of business, sport and communities.
The potential for the golfing sector to be a leader in sustainable development and management is great. Golf has the potential to act as the interface between governmental and non governmental agencies and environmental organisations, and other sectors such as sport, secondary education, greenkeeping and horticulture, the chemical industry, tourism, business (through the diverse business interests of golf club members), and a wide range of consultancies including forestry, drainage, construction, agronomy.

Golf provides a high profile vehicle to promote the concepts of sustainability. Importantly it can adopt these principles without compromising the fundamental needs of the game itself. Indeed the principles of sustainable development and management can be adopted by the many sub-sectors of the golf industry to their benefit.





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