5 Sustainability Q’s for the Trade Show Floor

Golf course sustainability does not start on the course, it begins with the supply-chain. All of your efforts to green your golf course operations can be undermined or enhanced by choosing products or services that may or may not be aligned with your own sustainability goals.

I’ve prepared 5 questions (and a few talking points) to help you make informed decisions, and transform your operations from an old linear style, towards a sustainable system.

Note: Although I’ve mostly covered the environmental aspect of the supply-chain, it’s important to remember that social and economic demands, together with the environment, make up the three pillars of sustainability and that all three should be considered within your procurement policies. I’ve put a * beside the questions I feel would be relevant to most superintendents. Also, when asking these questions try to be specific about one particular type of product or service to help frame the conversation.

image courtesy of Out on a Limb

  1. What are the manufacturer’s/supplier's sustainability commitments?
    1. *How do they measure and report their progress?
    2. *Does the supplier have an Environmental Management System (EMS), Sustainability or Environmental Policy?
    3. Does the supplier have a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy?
    4. Does the supplier support a local (State/Prov., Nation) workforce?
    5. How does the company express its values or commitment to employees, customers, and others?

  1. For the production/manufacturing and distribution of your products, what efforts have been made to efficiently use resources, materials, energy, and prevent pollution, in the production and distribution of products?
    1. *Is the product, manufacturing plant or service certified or accredited by an independent body (e.g. ISO 14001, EMAS, LEED, EcoLogo, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Energy Star, “Organic”, etc.)?
    2. Does the manufacturing process use renewable energy sources?
    3. *Are recycled materials used in any of your materials or products installed through your services? If so, what percentage?
    4. What percentage of post-consumer materials are used?
    5. Have you decreased the amount of virgin raw materials used in your manufacturing process?

  1. *Will there be any waste reduction through product/service use?:  
    1. *Is the product durable?
    2. *Can it be easily and economically serviced and maintained?
    3. *Is the product designed to reduce consumption and minimize waste?
    4. *Is the product reusable?
    5. *Does the product require less energy to operate and maintain than competing products?

  1. Does the supplier do anything to ensure minimal environmental impact at the end of their intended lives?
    1. *Do they encourage customers to recycle or reuse products?
    2. *Do they have a refurbishing program?
    3. *What efforts have been made to have packaging returned, reused or recycled?
    4. *Is the product compostable or biodegrade over time into harmless elements?

  1. Does your product help me meet state or local regulatory requirements?
    1. *In the areas of waste management? (batteries, recyclable locally?)
    2. *In the areas of chemical safety, storage, spill, remediation?
    3. *Under water conservation plans?
    4. *Under provincial pesticide ban exemptions?
    5. *Under legislation concerning Phoshorus or Nitrogen?
    6. *Under emission, fuel efficiency or noise level legislation?

I hope these questions helped you frame your product and service inquires, and that you were able to find the answers you were looking for.