Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s (MPC) commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is reflected in this year’s Marathon Classic golf tournament. The event is moving toward achieving an internationally recognized environmental status.
The tournament, one of the longest-running events on the LPGA Tour, is implementing a new initiative called Simply Sustainable to reduce waste and raise awareness of sustainability’s benefits. The tournament’s goal is to become 100% sustainable and eventually qualify for Golf Environment Organization (GEO) certification.
“The GEO Foundation has created a sustainability standard for conducting golf tournaments around the world,” said Mike Beczynski, Marathon Classic director of operations. “The requirements go beyond waste reduction and conservation to include educational efforts and support of the local community, so we are working with our partners, including Kroger and Blue Strike Environmental, to try to do as much as we can.”
Last year, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (Dow GLBI) became the first event on the LPGA Tour to be fully certified, and the Marathon Classic is looking to keep the trend going.
“At the end of the 2019 season, all the tournaments got together, and we spoke as a group about sustainability and how the LPGA can be a trendsetter in the category,” says Beczynski. “It’s important to educate people on the importance of sustainability, now and for the future.”
While the implementation of some on-course measures have been shelved until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament team is still using GEO criteria to create new practices for the 2020 event, including:
· Using recyclable glass bottles in catering areas
· Having on-course recycling stations to properly dispose of items
· Providing composting bins to collect food scraps
· Sending all unused food to local food banks.
The opportunity to play a role in helping achieve GOE criteria even extends to the golfers.
“Golfers will be recycling their bottles while on the course,” notes Beczynski. “And throwing away their trash in the proper outlets.”
“The goal is to become GEO certified and maintain that certification for many years to come,” adds Beczynski. “Ultimately, the goal is to see the tournament staff, sponsors, volunteers, spectators and even the players adopt these little sustainability pieces into their everyday lives. If everybody takes just one thing home that they learned from the tournament, then we did our job, and I see that as a positive value.”