Case Study

Will brown become the new green? Sustainable golf in the old and new world

17 pages
December 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1579

Golf over the years emerged as a global, cash-driven property development industry with nearly 4.4 million registered players in Europe alone in 2014. It developed as a business relying on a dense network of small- and medium-sized enterprises steeped in tradition. The combination of high growth and low brand value led to the golf industry lagging significantly behind other industries in terms of sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. With the downturn of 2008, things started to change, reluctantly at first then more proactively. Sustainability emerged as a hot topic on greens around the world. Bert Stadhouders knew more about it than anyone else. Freshly appointed in January 2014 as project manager for the Sustainable Golf Project, he was himself a dedicated golfer and a sustainability specialist. He had witnessed firsthand the disdain with which the sport was treating its sustainability footprint, as if oblivious to the CSR higher callings. In fact, beyond its green image and vocabulary, the game generated massive environmental and social challenges. Bert wondered how he could help drive sustainability to the top of the agenda in a reluctant industry steeped in conventions and history. Were the economic difficulties of the time a bounty or a boon for sustainability as a cause? To address sustainability on a global scale in golf, how could he factor in the huge differences between upcoming markets in Asia and more mature markets in Europe and the United States?

Learning Objective

Sustainability, corporate social responsibility, environmental footprint, public relations, managing environmental pressures, change management, environmentally-sensitive practices, industry standards, eco-labelling.

Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Pressure Group, Public Relations, Change Management, Industry, Standard, Eco-branding, Golf, Environmental Footprint
Global, Netherlands
Sustainable Golf Project, Travel and Leisure, Sports
Field Research
© 2015
Available Languages
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Teaching note
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