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New sustainability initiatives shine at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

by Mohammad Ghazal

Organisers of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic have announced a series of environmental measures for the tournament as part of its ongoing efforts to protect the planet and promote sustainability.

The Rolex Series event, which is currently taking place at Emirates Golf Club, features several key initiatives being implemented to help deliver its most eco-friendly event yet.

The measures will aim to reduce waste and emissions, water consumption and conserve energy in an important year for the UAE. With the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan declaring 2023 as the “Year of Sustainability”, the UAE Government will look to drive change when the nation hosts the COP 28 Climate Change Conference later this year.

The tournament is focused on becoming a carbon neutral event, following DP World Tour’s announcement that all five of its Rolex Series events in 2023 will adopt sustainable approaches to help reduce carbon footprint and advance climate mitigation.

Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “With more importance placed on caring for our planet than ever before, the responsibility lies within all of us to ensure we protect the environment for ourselves, our children and future generations and we are committed to do our part in this collective journey.

“By working hand-in-hand with a variety of organisations that are experts in their fields, the Hero Dubai Desert Classic environmental initiatives being implemented will help us deliver a more sustainable tournament, working in line with initiatives like Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to mitigate climate breakdown – all of which will help create a greener city that will benefit residents and citizens.”

Among the initiatives that are being introduced at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic are high-quality filtered water dispenser systems, provided by Liquid of Life and Al Laith. The five dispenser systems installed around the Majlis Course and in Tournament Town will reduce the use of an estimated 40,000 single use water bottles from players, caddies, officials and spectators across the event.

By installing these systems, the event is supporting Dubai Can, a sustainability initiative that aims to reduce single-use plastic water bottle waste in Dubai and drive awareness on plastic alternatives and sustainability issues.

Dulsco have again collaborated with the event organisers to oversee the waste management process. They will be responsible for collecting, transporting and disposing of all types of waste throughout the event.

As part of a partnership with Aggreko, the roof of the media centre that will house more than 150 journalists is covered by solar panels, while two 100 metres arrays of solar panels have been installed around the venue.

To help reduce carbon emissions, organisers are encouraging visitors to travel by the Dubai Metro as the tournament has Al Khail Metro Station almost on site.

For those who really want to drive, organisers have introduced limited paid on-site car parking at AED 50 per car. The fee will be used towards planting three mangrove trees locally, which during their lifetime will offset 2,000 miles of car travel emissions. As part of the DP World Tour partnership, it will also contribute to fund the Central Mozambique safe water programme, which will provide safe drinking water sources to hundreds of households in rural areas of the country.

Organisers have also partnered with leading UAE social enterprise Goumbook in a bid to achieve its target of planting 2,000 seeds as part of the “Give a Ghaf planting programme”.

As the UAE National Tree, the Ghaf tree is drought resistant and possibly the sturdiest plant of the desert environment. The planting programme follows the vision of the UAE’s leadership in raising awareness of the living desert, the Ghaf tree and its values, encouraging people to plant indigenous trees and save water.

At the event, members of the public will be able to take the pots with the seeds home with them and learn how to care for the seeds as they grow into a Ghaf tree.

In addition, the daily newsletters – written and published by Motivate Media Group, a tournament partner, have been printed on sustainable paper that is certified by Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

There are also a number of enjoyable and informative activities at the Sustainability Corner at Tournament Town where adults and children can take part in DIY and urban farming workshops.

As part of the Go for the Green initiative, there will also be an activation stand at the Sustainability Corner where people can pledge to be more eco-friendly – whether it is using reusable bags, recycling more or cutting down on food waste.

The environmental measures reaffirms the Hero Dubai Desert Classic’s commitment to sustainability and delivering tournaments with lighter environmental footprints as the organisers work towards achieving GEO certification for the event, aligning its efforts with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf.

The environmental measures also support the DP World Tour’s Green Drive sustainability initiative, which underlines an intensified approach towards priority issues such as climate change; biodiversity loss; air and ocean pollution; and sustainable and ethical procurement.

The Hero Dubai Desert Classic has already attracted some of the biggest names in golf. World Number One and two-time champion Rory McIlroy headlines the list of players, which also includes Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Ryan Fox.

The tournament is renowned as a family-friendly event, packed full of great entertainment for all ages to enjoy.

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