The Open will become one of the first major global sporting events to remove single-use plastic water bottles when it lands in Northern Ireland on the Causeway Coast in July.
The initiative is supported by the UN and will form one of the keynote presentations at the Sport for Business Sport for Social Good Conference taking place at Ulster University on the opening day of the Championship.
The Open Water initiative has been developed with Bluewater – the leading global innovator in drinking water solutions – to deliver a pioneering new approach to supplying drinking water at a major event by using water refilling stations and reusable stainless steel bottles to deliver pure fresh water directly to fans, players, staff and officials at The Open.
The project is supported by UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign and aims to raise awareness of the issue of global marine plastic pollution and the need to protect the world’s oceans and coastlines, including the marine life that inhabits them.
“Sport offers a unique opportunity to engage with a global audience on environmental issues, said Daniel Cooney, Communication Deputy Director from UN Environment.
“We commend this initiative to tackle marine plastic pollution. The Open offers a powerful platform to influence how people think about drinking water and its associated impact on the natural environment.”
More than 5,000 special edition reusable BPA-free stainless steel Bluewater water bottles will be given to fans free of charge at The Open and they will also be on sale throughout the venue for a special promotional price of less than five pounds. Fans will be welcome to bring their own refillable water bottles to use at the Championship.
All those who attend Sport for Business Sport for Social Good will also get their own bottle as a memento of the special initiative.
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All golfers playing in The Open will be given a personalised Players’ Edition stainless steel Bluewater water bottle with their name laser-engraved on it. A limited number of the Players’ Edition bottles will be made available for sale in The Open Shop and at The Open Camping Village for fans wishing to purchase a special souvenir gift.
“The Open has a close relationship with nature and the coastal system of the world’s finest links courses and it is important that we safeguard them for future generations,” said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A.
“We have all learned so much of the destructive impact of plastic in the world’s oceans and we believe we have to take steps to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from The Open in order to encourage fans and players to use alternative and more sustainable materials.”
Anders Jacobson, co-founder and CEO of Blue, the impact-led investment company which owns Stockholm-based Bluewater, said, “We are honoured and delighted to be collaborating with The R&A on The Open Water project, which blazes a purposeful message of the key role world class sporting organisations can play when it comes to leaving a cleaner planet for future generations.
“Bluewater technology offers solutions enabling water to be purified and dispensed locally at the point of consumption – with minimal waste – thereby eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles and their polluting transportation.”
Life Water aluminium cans will also be used as ready-sealed containers to provide water in some areas of the venue. The Life Water zero plastic cans are filled with natural British spring water, are made from 70% recycled aluminium, are 100% recyclable and BPA-free. Every can also helps to fund clean water projects across the globe.