Mission Hills Haikou, one of the world’s largest golf resorts located in China, has received the international sustainability GEO Certified® accolade from the highly regarded Golf Environment Organization (GEO). The resort, which is the largest single facility to receive this award, has made protecting the environment and managing natural resources their main priorities since the property’s beginning as a pioneer in developing golf in China.
GEO Certified®, golf’s international mark of sustainability, is administered and assured by the not-for-profit Golf Environment Organization (GEO) and independently assessed. GEO Certified® recognizes golf businesses that demonstrate a commitment to providing more and more value to people and nature at the facilities they manage.
Located on Hainan Island, Mission Hills Haikou is known as Asia’s sport and lifestyle capital. With ten diverse courses suitable for a range of playing abilities, Mission Hills Haikou hosts many professional and amateur tournaments, including the 2014 World Celebrity Pro-Am in October last year, China’s first carbon neutral major sporting event. In keeping with Mission Hills’ commitment to protecting nature, proceeds from last year’s tournament were donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Constructed on 15,000 acres of permeable black lava rock, strict management and monitoring systems have been put in at Mission Hills Haikou to ensure the conservation of ground water. In addition, the preservation of more than 20,000 mature trees during the resort’s development, and the ongoing replanting of more than 50,000 additional trees has restored and enhanced natural habitats that are home to native wildlife species. The ten golf courses have been carefully constructed and designed to work with and conform to the surrounding natural landscape. The resort is also committed to people providing attractive job opportunities for local people. As a China leader in fare wages and benefits staff are provided social insurance, a housing fund and health benefit system and professional development opportunities and training.
“We are proud to be recognized for our sustainability practices as China’s leading golf resort by the highly regarded Golf Environment Organization,” said Dr. Ken Chu, Chairman of the Mission Hills Group. “Since our beginnings as a pioneer in developing golf in China, we have been committed to doing so in a manner that is respectful of the natural environment where our resorts are located. Our certification by GEO lets the world know how serious we are about our sustainability commitment.”
In the onsite evaluation of Mission Hills Haikou, it was noted that Mission Hills demonstrated exceptional standards and a commitment to continual improvement in keys areas of sustainability – enhancing nature, efficient resource use, and community engagement – and management of its courses and golf infrastructure exceeded voluntary industry criteria.
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO said ‘Mission Hills has long promoted sustainable golf and leisure in China, consistently showing an impressive range of management initiatives. We are delighted that Mission Hills Haikou has joined the GEO Certified® community and look forward to seeing the group help drive sustainability throughout China and internationally’.
Among the impressive sustainability initiatives of Mission Hills Haikou, GEO highlighted:
· Site designated a Global Low-Carbon Ecological Scenic Spot in 2013 by the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS)
· ISO 140041 Certified
· Solar powered golf carts, wind and solar hybrid road lights
· Efficient air-source pump and heat recovery system provides hot water to clubhouse and hotel
· 100% irrigation water self-sufficient from treated waste water and rainwater stored in seven artificial lakes
· Annual tree planting programme to enhance native habitats
· Local volcanic rock reused as construction materials for buildings, paths and decorative features
· Preservation of historic stone village ruin with 1km education trail for visitors to explore local heritage and natural volcanic landscape
· Strong collaboration with multiple stakeholders – local government, NGO’s, universities, schools, media – to promote sustainable concepts
· Wide variety of sustainability communication channels – website, newsletters, e-magazine, noticeboards and brochures
· Focus on hiring local staff, employer of thousands of people in many different specialisations with strong continuous professional development opportunities.
GEO Certified® is a member of ISEAL Alliance, the global assurance body for credibility in sustainability standards. An independent on-site and written evaluation by a 3rd party verifier ensures credibility, and a report is available publicly for transparency.