Written and published by GEO Foundation
The 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has achieved GEO Certified® Tournament status, the internationally recognized certification for sustainability in golf, administered by Scotland-based GEO Foundation (GEO).
The award comes after strong commitments and efforts from all the tournament organizers to minimise negative impacts, while helping to foster nature, conserve resources, take climate action and strengthen communities. To achieve this, a comprehensive Sustainability Action Plan was put into place, outlining goals and implementation responsibilities, and allowing a coordinated effort across all tournament operations.
As a mainstay of the PGA Tour, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a major sporting event, attracting top golfers, celebrities, and thousands of fans to California’s beautiful Monterey Peninsula each year. With such significant reach and influence, the tournament’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility demonstrates valuable leadership in advancing sustainability in and through golf.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation, commented on the award: “Building on a strong track record of responsible management of the Pebble Beach Resort and the Monterey Peninsula, we commend the partners for taking such determined steps to make the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am a leader in sustainable golf tournaments, sport and events.”
Managing Director of the Council for Responsible Sport and lead verifier for the event, Shelley Villalobos, said: “For years now, this tournament's key partners have taken initiative to exemplify industry best practices in responsible tournament management. It's terrific to see this hard-earned certificate give testament to the intentional planning and leadership demonstrated consistently by this special event.”
Some of the sustainability highlights from the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am include:
All tournament proceeds are donated to local charitable organisations. In 2018, donations amounted to $15.6 million, with a similar figure expected for 2019
88% of waste diverted from landfill through sustainable procurement policies, composting, recycling, reuse and donation.
Irrigation water comes from the Monterey Peninsula Waste Water Reclamation Project, which has saved over 6.4 billion gallons of potable water for the local community
Community engagement: The Chevron STEM Zone provided an educational experience for local school children, and 4,000 complimentary tickets were donated to military personnel and veterans.
Looking forward, the tournament organisers are committed to building on this first certification and improving sustainability efforts across tournament operations year-on-year. Tim Heitmann, Operations Manager of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, said: “Our Sustainability Action Plan lay at the heart of everything we did in 2019, and from lessons learned, is evolving for the 2020 and other future editions of the event. We covered all aspects of sustainable event management, focusing on practical actions and real outcomes.”
To achieve GEO Certification, the organizers completed a robust, custom-built program for golf tournaments that includes document and evidence submission, a third-party verification carried out by the Council for Responsible Sport, a thorough review by GEO, and agreement to Continual Improvement Points for future tournaments.
The 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am achieved 46 of 49 credits attempted (from a maximum of 55), across six categories - planning & communications, site protection, procurement, resource management, access & equity and community legacy.
View the full 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am GEO Certified® Report.
About the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
The AT&T Pebble Beach is one of the most exciting and popular events on the PGA Tour. Each year, thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers enjoy watching the world’s top golfers and other big-name celebrities in action, to the stunning backdrop of central California’s Monterey Peninsula.
This year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will be held from February 6th to 9th 2020.
About the Council for Responsible Sport
The Council’s mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and
environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing, and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. Since 2008, the Council has certified over 100 events, reaching over one million participants and countless spectators. .
Wharf to Wharf Race Director Scott McConville and race Finish Line Director Stephen Hoversten proudly hold the refillable aluminum water bottles that will be given to each finisher this year as part of the organization’s effort to reduce waste and encourage sustainability. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)
By ELAINE INGALLS | email@example.com | Santa Cruz Sentinel
CAPITOLA — In its 47th year, Wharf to Wharf Inc. is putting new sustainability practices in place at Sunday’s race, in hopes of obtaining gold-level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport.
Last year, Wharf to Wharf Inc. conducted a case study with the council to examine the race’s environmental and social impacts. This year, Wharf to Wharf Inc. is partnering with a third-party evaluator, Blue Strike Environmental, to establish sustainability policies and execute them during the event, all to achieve council certification.
“It took me a while to have the confidence to move forward with the board of directors’ support and push this change for the future,” said Scott McConville, Wharf to Wharf race director. “It’s ambitious, but we think we have a good shot.”
McConville has been the race director since 2013. His focus on sustainability started when he graduated from college with an environmental studies degree.
As part of its sustainability movement, Wharf to Wharf is partnering with San Francisco-based company Pathwater to provide racers with reusable aluminum water bottles instead of plastic water bottles. While Pathwater is donating the bottles, Wharf to Wharf will be spending money on the process for certification, McConville said.
Other features of the race are “going green.” All aid stations will use compostable cups, replacing its 40,000 water cups the race used previously. Green Waste will provide specific dumpsters for the compostable cups to later be used as soil and fertilizer. Wharf to Wharf will also give runners reusable giveaway bags.
“It shows a commitment to the place they’re running on,” said Alex Baxter, Blue Strike Environmental’s sustainability program manager. “It shows they’re good stewards of the land…It’s about committing a legacy to the community, pushing socioeconomic barriers.”
If Wharf to Wharf does achieve this certification, it will be the first event in Santa Cruz County to achieve it, as well as the first in the San Francisco Bay Area to achieve it since 2011, according to a press release.
“Our goal is not to be perfect, but to improve as an event, to lower our carbon footprint and take the appropriate next steps to continue to lower our environmental impact,” McConville said.
Founded in 2008, the Council for Responsible Sport leads a certification program that evaluates events on their environmental and social impacts and ranks their practices. The council has certified 165 events globally, according to Managing Director Shelley Villalabos.
“It (the council) aims to have a world where responsible events are the norm, not the exception,” said Villalabos. “Consumers want more sustainable options when they are purchasing. Experiences aren’t the exception.”
The certification process typically takes about 10 months. Events/organizations must be recertified every two years.
Certification levels, ranging from basic to evergreen, are based on how many standards an event meets out of 61. For example, a certified event meets 27-35 standards, while an evergreen event meets 55 or more of them. Standards are comprised of five sections: planning and communications, procurement (how an organization partners in hosting an event), resource management, access and equity and community legacy. The council has certified more than 100 road races around the world, but only 20 U.S. road races have earned the gold ranking, according to a press release.
Runners are encouraged to help the event in its sustainable practices after the race. Runners can take the Wharf to Wharf Sustainability Survey and bring their old running shoes for donation at Fleet Feet’s finish village booth. They can also speak with the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency at the finish to learn about local water security.
For the first time, the US Open at Pebble Beach partners with a local business targeting zero waste.
Rico Tesio is COO of Blue Strike Environmental, which interfaces with fans at trash stations, but does most of its work behind the scenes of big events. Photo by Nic Coury
It’s June 10, and practice rounds for the U.S. Open have begun. Fans are wearing shorts and sandals on this hot day, but Rico Tesio is wearing pants and heavy work boots – appropriate for the staging area that resembles a construction zone. Beyond some metal barricades, there are two-by-fours stacked high, rows of parked tractors and golf carts, a heap of pallets and a crew unloading flowers from a Swenson & Silacci van.
From the decor to the construction materials, fenced yards like this will support the four-day event – then it will all go away. One side effect: an immense amount of waste.
Tesio, COO of Blue Strike Environmental, points at rolls of gray carpet, remnants of 200,000-plus square feet that are spread out on temporary walkways and floors in Pebble Beach for the week. “We are helping them to divert all of that from the landfill,” he says.
Blue Strike will have a dozen staff members on site throughout the tournament attending to trash cans, helping fans toss recyclables and compostables accordingly, leaving trash bins for just actual trash. (The carpet will go to the California Carpet Stewardship Program, managed by CalRecycle.)
The Monterey Peninsula is accustomed to pop-up events that entail construction of miniature cities, only to be dismantled after a few days, or races that involve lots of throwaway products. But the U.S. Open is on a different scale, with more structures and more people (more than 250,000 are expected).
“That’s the impact they’re minimizing,” Tesio says.
The U.S. Open in 2018 in Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, New York, generated almost 1,100 tons of waste; of that, 60 percent, or about 660 tons – more than the weight of six blue whales – was diverted. (The industry standard for “zero waste” is 90-percent diversion or higher.)
Blue Strike is a business that splintered from nonprofit The Offset Project, which for a decade managed zero-waste targets at local events. Blue Strike formed in order to scale up, and now handles trash diversion at events like Cali Roots and the AT&T Pro-Am – as well as beyond Monterey County.
“It was so successful, we decided to expand nationally,” says Blue Strike CEO Kristin Cushman, who also founded The Offset Project, then launched Blue Strike in 2017. (A disclosure: Cushman is the spouse of Weekly Publisher Erik Cushman.)
Growth has happened fast: “We’ve tripled our income in the last 12 months as we’ve expanded,” Cushman says.
Some events are limited by local infrastructure; for instance, Blue Strike looked into a PGA tour event in New Orleans, but would have to truck recyclables. (Monterey Regional Waste Management District can process compostable goods.)
Alex Baxter, sustainability program manager at Blue Strike, sees sporting events as a unique chance to engage fans. “This is not typically part of golf culture,” he says. “Maybe it’s an imprint, and they think about it next time they’re at a Starbucks or they go to dispose.”
Tesio says he’ll try to fit in a few minutes of simply being a golf fan this weekend. “This is the game’s greatest stage,” he says. “And it allows us to raise awareness on that same stage.”
DEL MONTE FOREST, Calif. — Everything about the U.S. Open is massive, including the amount of trash that will be generated during the week-long event.The 250,000 fans estimated to pass through the gates of the Open are expected to buy food, bottled water and packaged souvenirs. Spectator trash, in combination with the temporary infrastructure that will be torn down when the golfers leave, will amount to some serious tonnage headed out to local waste management.
Monterey Regional Waste Management District does not have an estimate on the tonnage of waste it will receive but it does have a plan in place to divert 70 percent of it towards recycling and reuse.
"We started seeing food waste loads from the event, they started showing up yesterday from disposal loads also coming in, and then I think we've also seen some of the recyclable materials showing up here," said Jeff Lindenthal with MRWMD.
Lindenthal said the food waste is being composted and much of the service ware is also compostable. Plastics and other recyclables are being sorted on site at Pebble Beach before the reach waste management thanks to massive manpower on the part of Pebble Beach Company and its contractor Blue Strike Environmental.
"I think you are seeing this more and more in professional sports, this move to be more sustainable," said Rico Tesio with Blue Strike.
Sporting events generate huge amounts of waste in terms of both trash and recyclables. According to a Cardiff University study, average sporting event attendees generate a footprint seven times greater than someone going about normal, everyday life.
Tesio said in recent years consumers and corporate sponsors have been pushing for green solutions. Blue Strike has been integral in coordinating the disposal of the infrastructure material when the Open is over next week.
A small village has been built out on the greens at Pebble Beach with a massive players locker room, media center, merchandise tent and concessions stands. About 250,000 square feet of carpet alone was used in the construction.
Following the Open, the carpet, wood and plastic fencing will be salvaged and hopefully reused. The materials will be taken to Last Chance Mercantile out at MRWMD and what doesn't sell will be recycled through the construction material recycling program.
To make this happen United States Golf Association, Blue Strike and Pebble Beach Company started working with MRWMD more than a year in advance. And fortunately, the Marina facility is one of the few in the country that has made the effort to find markets for recyclables.
Spectators out on the course can do their part too by making sure their waste is disposed of in the proper bins. Fans can also bring their own water bottle however, the USGA's rules on bringing your own bottle are not very green. Only empty clear plastic bottles are allowed through the gates.
The USGA also prohibits other green alternatives including containers and outside food with exceptions made only for medical needs and infants.
Please join us for the third in our series of four webinars on Community Choice Agencies (CCAs) and Integrated Distributed Energy Resources (IDERs). This webinar will focus on potential opportunities for CCAs to selectively work together to optimize efforts and resources, through continued knowledge sharing and ultimately collaboration as they define their role in the deployment of IDERs. As the Community Choice movement continues to grow and rapidly evolve in California, changes in market conditions and the regulatory landscape such as price volatility, the PCIA decision, changes in Resource Adequacy procurement, etc., are creating new challenges and barriers to entry for new and existing CCAs. Our focus will be on how collaboration between CCAs can help the agencies reduce costs, stabilize and fortify competitive retail rates, and reduce risk exposure as they navigate through the challenges and barriers ahead. As a primary example, we will explore how CCAs can benefit from a collaborative approach to developing an integrated CCA data platform.
Our presenters for this webinar include Taj Ait-Laoussine, Vice-President, Technology & Analytics for East Bay Community Energy, and Chris Sentieri, Senior Manager of the Climate Division, Blue Strike Environmental.
Mr. Sentieri will lead off by framing the rapidly changing situation, providing some context about the need for CCAs to get more sophisticated, a vision for how a data platform fits in, and what it can eventually enable, including IDER deployment. Mr. Ait-Laoussine will follow with a non-technical presentation about how to visualize the data platform, how it’s already paying dividends and could evolve, and then explore concepts of potential collaboration.
Support for the Clean Power Exchange program provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.
Thank you sponsors! – CPX Team
By Drew Andre
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the biggest events on the Central Coast, and with the thousands of people eating and drinking it creates mountains of trash.
“Our job out here first and foremost is to take care of the golf course, and all the waste that comes off the golf course,” COO Blue Strike Environmental Rico Tesio said.
For the past five years the Pro-Am has been a zero waste event. The event has been Gold Level certified by the council for responsible sport in each of those five years.
“Millions and millions of dollars in hotel rooms and restaurant tabs, and all that goes on this week but there’s a tremendous environmental footprint that goes along with that that often times doesn’t get seen,” Tesio said.
The tournament hires Blue Strike Environmental to make sure garbage form every purchase is properly handled. Last year, there was more than 170 tons of waste throughout the event.
Blue Strike hires local non-profits like Victory Outreach Home in Salinas to help pickup and sort that waste.
“Make sure the recycling is recycled so it can be reused, and the trash that is compostable goes to the compost and the the trash trash is separated out,” Sarah Ingraham from Victory Outreach said.
“When we come out here it actually helps out our homes, it helps keep the doors open for our ministry,” Ingraham said.
IN 2018, 91% of the events waste was diverted from the landfill.
“To be able to minimize that only allows these events to continue to give back to the communities buy not damaging and hurting them,” Tesio said.
Tesio said this event produces more waste than any other on the central coast, but it will be nothing compared to the U.S. Open coming to Pebble beach in June.
This year the tournament is seeking an environmental certification from the Golf Environment Organization.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Cushman
Monterey, CA: Blue Strike Environmental announced today that the company is expanding capacity by adding EcoShift Consulting, a company specializing in carbon accounting, lifecycle analysis, sustainability and clean energy consulting. The acquisition, announced by Blue Strike CEO, Kristin Cushman, will expand the portfolio of services and offer clients a more holistic approach to developing, implementing, and reporting sustainability efforts.
Blue Strike Environmental’s mission is to meet the needs of businesses, communities, and the environment by creating innovative solutions designed to balance environmental impacts with community benefit projects.
As part of the acquisition, Blue Strike will be able to better serve clients through the use of EcoShift’s principal utility, the Scenario Analysis Tool. This powerful analytical tool supports the development of actionable planning scenarios that combine complex climate protection and clean energy initiatives, and analyzes and ranks those scenarios based on projected costs and social, environmental, and economic benefits. The proprietary Scenario Analysis Tool was designed to provide valuable, data-driven decision support for climate action/adaptation planning, community choice energy programs, capital improvement portfolio analysis, and more.
“By combining Blue Strike’s sustainability management systems with EcoShift’s results-driven analytical capabilities, our clients will be able to rank and measure the impacts of their sustainability efforts”, says Cushman.
About Blue Strike Environmental
For over a decade, the Blue Strike team has been working with clients to help them implement zero-waste goals and strategic sustainability initiatives. The Blue Strike team has an impeccable record for calculating, tracking and reporting a wide range of sustainability standards to help jurisdictions comply with state mandates, secure funding and build innovative mitigation projects that lead to quantifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Founded in 2009, EcoShift has a proven track record for providing lifecycle analysis, carbon accounting and developing climate action planning scenario tools that quantify and compare the combined life-cycle costs and benefits of a portfolio of capital improvements, clean energy initiatives, and greenhouse gas emission mitigation measures.
Lafayette Climate Goals:
Our commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Anyone who has spent time in Lafayette as a citizen, visitor, or employee knows that our community is deeply committed to making good decisions for both our people and the planet. For many years,
Lafayette has served as a sustainability leader among Colorado communities. As such, the City Council of Lafayette strongly supports the scientific consensus that the earth’s climate is warming as a result of human activities which are releasing unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As a community, we understand that the local effects of climate change, such as potential for more extreme weather events resulting in wildfire and flooding, may have an impact on Lafayette residents and its economy.
In October 2017, the Lafayette City Council passed a resolution establishing community-wide goals to achieve 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030. With this public commitment, Lafayette joins hundreds of cities and communities across the US in support of doing our part to address climate change here at home.
Lafayette started measuring the community carbon footprint in 2009 and has a deep understanding of our sources. In order to reach our climate goals, we’ll use our baseline information to build a road map to reach our goals and decrease the amount of heat trapping emissions from our city. Progress will be communicated on this website, and tracked through our membership with the Compact of Colorado Communities.
Lafayette’s carbon footprint includes three main sectors: stationary energy, transportation, and waste. Each of these sectors include the emissions sources from the 2015 carbon footprint analysis. Lafayette’s total carbon footprint in 2015 was 287,604 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e).
To learn more about ongoing sustainability efforts and to understand how you can support community climate goals, please see:
Community organizations led by the East Bay Clean Power Alliance are thrilled with the adoption tonight of a groundbreaking plan for local clean energy investment by East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Alameda County’s new Community Choice energy program. A portion of East Bay Community Energy net revenues from electricity sales will now be invested into providing local clean energy benefits. This action makes EBCE the first Community Choice program in the nation to launch with genuine roadmap and commitment to bring local development and health benefit to the community.
The Local Development Business Plan (LDBP), as it is called, can maximize community benefits such as local solar, wind and energy efficiency projects and incentives for the East Bay. In addition, East Bay Community Energy is utilizing outside grants to fund some local development projects such as solar and storage on critical facilities such as fire stations and hospitals. The LDBP was adopted in a unanimous vote by the EBCE board.
Many community leaders gathered for a “Clean Power to the People” rally in support of the Plan’s adoption before the EBCE Board meeting. These leaders have been advocating for an East Bay Community Choice program with a commitment to local clean energy solutions for years.
“Thanks to efforts of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, the East Bay Community Energy program has the potential to bring equitable economic development and jobs to communities throughout the county as well as increase the amount of electricity that comes from local clean energy resources,” said Jessica Tovar, coordinator of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance.
“The Local Development Business Plan will ensure East Bay Community Energy is on track to fostering local economic and climate benefits, such as creating clean energy jobs and developing local renewable resources, while also moving toward a clean energy economy,” said Luis Amezcua, member of the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter.
For Rev. Ken Chambers, Pastor of Westside Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, creating jobs and keeping energy wealth in our community has been an important goal for our community. “We need to create opportunities for low income people traditionally shut out of the clean energy economy. We need to train and employ local people like the formerly incarcerated and people of color with family sustaining wage jobs so that we can afford to stay in the Bay Area.”
Community health and safety is critical for our frontline environmental justice communities. “As Nurses, we witness how extreme forms of energy extraction impact human health," said Martha Kuhl, RN, Board of Directors Treasurer for California Nurses Association and First Vice President of the Alameda Labor Council. "Nurses at the bedside see the daily impacts that pollution and toxic emissions have on our health — environmental toxins lead to higher rates of asthma, liver damage, heart and lung disease, cancer, and birth defects."
The creation of EBCE aims to bring climate justice to disadvantaged communities. As a government agency, EBCE has the ability to take in the needs and voices of the people. “About 800 of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) members who reside in Alameda County have tirelessly fought for climate justice on both the state level and the local level," said Jing Jing He of Asian Pacific Environmental Network. "We believe the implementation of the Local Development Business Plan is essential to advancing structural changes and outcomes that create opportunities for low-income communities."
The plan for local clean energy investments in East Bay Community Energy is a game changer. “There is a myth that says we must choose between our jobs and our environment, but we know that there are no jobs on a dead planet. We don’t have to choose between jobs and our environment; we can create quality, green jobs through rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in renewable and sustainable energy,” said Anne Olivia Eldred, Chair of East Bay Community Energy’s Community Advisory Committee.
With this achievement in place, East Bay Clean Power Alliance is organizing to further engage the community to call for millions of dollars of investments towards local clean energy development from a portion of the projected $43 million in net revenues in the first year of EBCE operations.
In October 2016, East Bay Clean Power Alliance, an Alameda County-wide alliance, called for a ground-breaking program that would prioritize equitable development of local renewable resources, creating union and family-sustaining jobs, stimulating local businesses, and include direct community representation in the governance of the program. East Bay Clean Power Alliance called for a business plan to study where and how East Bay Community Energy can invest and incentivize solar, wind and energy efficiency projects. Alameda Board of Supervisors agreed by allocating $500,000 towards a Local Development Business Plan study for East Bay Community Energy.
Local Development Business Plan agenda item and document for July 18, 2018 can be found here on the East Bay Community Energy’s website.
By: Nestor Resendiz
2018 AT&T Byron Nelson Junior Reporter
Imagine a golf tournament that had no trash cans. What if you came up to a green and there were bottles and trash everywhere? That would be awful.
That will not happen at the AT&T Byron Nelson because Blue Strike Environmental is on duty. They have a team of 40-60 people who empty trash cans from 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM every day, and then actually empty each bag of trash. They rip it open and remove every piece of trash, separating out recyclables, compost and trash. Their goal is to recycle 50% of the garbage, and divert another 20%. Divert means to repurpose things like carpet and wood. The carpet, for example, is going to be donated to people who need it. Yay!
I got all this fascinating information from Rico Tesio, CEO of Blue Strike Environmental. He estimated that each PGA Tour event produces an amount of 100-150 tons of trash. Can you believe that?!
Tessio’s team has enormous help from the company Champion. They help by picking up the garbage and compost. A lot of the compost is hot dogs, banana peels and watermelon. It smelled awful! It honestly made me feel a bit nauseous.
The awesome people helping sort the trash are volunteers from local schools or organizations such as Spruce High School Alumni Association and the Pemberton Trinity Forest Neighborhood Association. They do this work to raise money for their groups.
Final thing before I go – today was so hot we were smacking sweat off our head. But the Blue Strike Environmental team felt even hotter. I think they have one of the hardest – and most important – jobs that you can have at a PGA Tour event.