From Courses to Communities, Dow and WM Drive Sustainability

Feb 21, 2024 2:30 PM ET

Through creative collaborations with like-minded companies such as WM, we can help advance the well-being of people and the planet. Together, we’re developing a blueprint for sustainability in communities and in sports, helping events like the Grant Thornton Invitational address its environmental footprint.

Given golf’s intrinsic connection to nature, the significance of advancing sustainability in the sport cannot be overstated. And there's a growing responsibility to ensure its impact on the environment aligns with modern values for futureproofing. Doing so not only minimizes the ecological footprint of golf tournaments, course management, and other golf-related activities, but also sets a powerful example for fans, athletes, sponsors and brands alike. In alignment with such values, the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational golf tournament sought the expertise of two companies known for their expertise in sustainability: Dow and WM.

Two Brands, One Sustainability Mission

WM’s broad reach as a comprehensive environmental solutions provider and our leadership in materials science are bringing enhanced levels of sustainability and innovation to a variety of spheres – one of which is golf. For example, leveraging insights learned respectively from the acclaimed WM Phoenix Open and Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, WM advises the PGA TOUR on sustainability, while Dow serves as the Official Sustainability Resource for the LPGA and Ladies European Tour.

Both WM and Dow collaborate closely with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf (GEO), an organization dedicated to championing sustainability in golf worldwide. Through this work, the 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational became the first-ever GEO-Certified LPGA event, while the 2017 WM Phoenix Open became the first GEO-Certified PGA TOUR event. The GEO Certification acknowledges adherence to the highest sustainability standards in golf.

Just as the LPGA and PGA TOUR’s best teamed up on the golf course at the Grant Thornton Invitational, WM united their strengths with ours to elevate the sustainability program of the tournament, further demonstrating their shared dedication to advancing environmental responsibility in and beyond the sport.

A Closer Look at Dow & WM’s Sustainability Initiatives

With the potential to reach millions, professional golf events like the Grant Thornton Invitational provide unparalleled opportunities to educate and raise awareness of environmental issues and sustainable solutions. Our companies came together to advance the shared goal of driving sustainability through carefully planned and executed initiatives at the tournament, including:

  • Careful analysis of the tournament’s footprint, such as tracking water and other natural resource usage, to support the development of a phased emissions reduction plan.
  • A commitment to recycling, exemplified by using recycling and trash bins crafted from recycled cardboard.
  • Active engagement with event attendees to foster a culture of environmental sustainability through educational efforts, such as clarifying the distinction between recyclable and non-recyclable materials.
  • On-site sorting efforts to separate recyclable materials effectively, paired with pre-event guidance distributed to vendors outlining preferred items for on-site use.
  • Collaboration with caterers to facilitate food donations.

Our partnership with WM extends beyond the realms of the Grant Thornton Invitational – and golf. In November 2022, we co-launched a residential collection program in North America, specifically designed for hard-to-recycle plastic, including items like grocery bags and shrink wrap. In select markets, consumers now have the convenience of placing these materials directly in their curbside recycling, with WM handling the processing at their nearest state-of-the-art recycling facility. Once at full capacity, the program is anticipated to divert a notable 120,000 metric tons of plastic film away from landfills each year. Looking ahead, we are excited to expand our collaboration with WM in the future, through the sponsorship of the 2024 WM Phoenix Open. During the Grant Thornton Invitational, our teams participated, together with WM, in great discussions around best practices in the worlds of DEI, sustainability and purpose-driven sports marketing, that will help guide future collaborations – stay tuned!

Driving ahead

By embracing innovative, environmentally conscious practices, it is possible to future-proof professional golf while inspiring a broader audience to champion sustainability. For us and for WM, golf isn’t the final destination, but rather just one of the platforms being leveraged to amplify the use of environmentally responsible practices, and to develop game-changing, sustainable innovations and collaborations.

Learn more about Dow’s Partnerships in Golf

Learn more about Dow and WM's Recycling Program

Carlos Padilla II, Head of Global Sports Partnerships at Dow