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PGA of America And PGA Village Receive Sustainable Certification

PGA VillageThe powerful Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA of America) has registered its PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida in the Audubon Lifestyles Sustainable Golf Facility Program.

As a pilot member of the program, the management of the PGA Village facility worked with Audubon Lifestyles and the International Sustainability Council (ISC) to complete and submit all the necessary documentation in order for the facility to become a Certified Sustainable Golf Facility and to participate in the ISC Sustainability Rating.

Founded in 1916, the PGA of America is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and is made up of more than 28,000 men and women golf professional members. As “the experts in the game and business of golf,” the PGA of America’s undertaking has been to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

“We are pleased to announce that the PGA Village has achieved the designation of Certified Audubon Sustainable Golf Facility and the ISC Sustainability Rating of Three Stars,” revealed Ronald Dodson, Chairman of the ISC.

The Certification and Sustainability Rating is based on a comprehensive assessment, audit and submittal process that details economic, environmental and social aspects of facility management. In addition the PGA Village has created and adopted a Sustainability Charter which is published on the facility web page as a reference for future management strategies.

“We have been working on the Sustainable Golf Facility Program for several years, including for the past year or so with 6 pilot member facilities. We were very excited when the PGA decided to become a pilot member and we are even more excited that the PGA has become the first golf facility to become fully engaged in the program, become certified and receive the ISC Sustainability Rating”, declared Eric Dodson, chief executive officer of Audubon Lifestyles.

He went on to add, “The PGA and the PGA Village have set the bar in regard to sustainable golf facility management.”

During the pilot phase of program development, the Sustainable Golf Facility Program also became Trade Marked through the United States Department of Commerce.

The Sustainable Golf Facility Program was created through input from numerous individuals, including representatives from, several universities, and various golf associations as well as from environmental, economic and social not-for-profit organizations. In addition, the ISC Council reviewed, critiqued and ultimately approved the ISC Sustainability Rating portion of the program. “Finally, several individuals associated with our numerous pilot members have given us very valuable input to help make the program as comprehensive as it is,” said Dodson.

David S. Downing II, CGCS, Director of Golf Course Operations for the PGA Village facility, while reflecting on the Sustainable Golf Facility Certification and ISC Sustainability Rating said, “I have a passion for sustainability because of what it really means. To me if each golf facility is truly sustainable, then we are a community asset. We can stand proudly on all three legs of sustainability, environmental responsibility, economic viability and social responsibility”.

According to Downing, courses are proven to provide habitat for wildlife, be filters for storm water and providing green space. This green space also provides jobs and recreation to the community. “This is a message I am proud of as a 30+ year veteran of the golf industry. Golf courses in general have struggled to be viewed as community assets in the past. A certified sustainable golf facility certainly helps the community awareness,” Downing pointed out.

The PGA Golf Club is working with the PGA Village Property Owner’s Association in order to better manage storm water. “We have begun discussions about how we can work together to maximize the water for irrigation,” Downing explained. On its Ryder Course, the club has worked with the Tom Fabio Course Designers to reduce the number of golf course bunkers, making the remaining bunkers less costly to maintain and reduce irrigated, maintained turf areas. These improvements are designed to reduce the clubs inputs and fuel usage, while still providing important green space benefits. Downing continued, “We are beginning to look at the same things on the other courses as well …. Because finally, being sustainable is a combination of good business and being a good neighbor.”

Audubon Lifestyles and the ISC believe that it is economic viability that serves as the foundation that golf must stand on to be able to address the environmental and social aspects of sustainability. It is now hoped that the Sustainable Golf Facility Program becomes embraced by the golf industry as an important framework to help move toward a more sustainable society.


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Cookie Conservation - Girl Scouts pledge to limit Palm-oil use in Cookies

Girl ScoutsA five-year campaign by two Michigan girls to make Girl Scout cookies more environmentally friendly has prompted the youth organization to curb the use of palm oil in its iconic baked goods.

Girl Scouts of the USA isn't eliminating the ingredient, but it says that beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each box will include a GreenPalm logo as a symbol of Girl Scouts' commitment to address concerns about the deforestation of sensitive lands caused by production of palm oil.

Environmentalists say the illegal clearing of rainforests in Southeast Asia to make room for palm oil plantations has pushed the orangutan to the brink of extinction and threatens other native animals.

In its announcement, the Girl Scouts said it has directed its bakers to use as little palm oil as possible, and only in recipes where there is no alternative. It wants its bakers to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015.

The Scouts will buy GreenPalm certificates to support the sustainable production of palm oil. The certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers who are operating within best-practices guidelines set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, an organization of palm oil producers, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, environmentalists and others.

Girl Scouts of the USA will also become an affiliate member of the roundtable.

The teen activists and environmentalists welcomed the announcement as a good first step, but said much more needs to be done.

"The production of palm oil is causing some of the world's most precious rainforests to disappear faster than a box of Thin Mints," said Lindsey Allen, forest campaign director for the Rainforest Action Network.

Girl Scouts sells more than 200 million boxes of cookies per year. It estimates that its cookies account for less than one-one-hundredth of 1 percent of all the palm oil used globally.

"Girl Scouts' palm oil use is very small, but our voice is big," Amanda Hamaker, Girl Scouts manager of product sales, said in a press release. "The world's food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts."

In a follow-up email Thursday to, Hamaker called the girls’ campaign "extremely significant."

"This is the first time on record that GSUSA has changed our practices related to the activities of the youth we serve," Hamaker said. "The girls identified an area where GSUSA clearly needed to provide leadership, and we are delighted to have found a way to do so."



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:
Audubon Lifestyles 
The International Sustainability Council 


Ford Motors

Girl Scouts of America

Austin Ranch

Turf Feeding Systems

The University of Michigan

The Dodson Group      

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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