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Marriott expands Global Green Golf Initiative

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On the heels of the successful 2008 environmental program, whereby 24 Marriott Golf managed properties in North America and one signature property in the Caribbean became Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, Marriott Golf, one of the world’s premier golf operators, is now expanding the program, requiring 17 international golf properties to become Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries by the end of 2009.

Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, which enable golf facilities to protect the environment by enhancing precious natural areas and wildlife habitats, are part of a systemwide commitment by Marriott International to promote environmental stewardship.

 In order to achieve Audubon Certification, a golf facility is required to demonstrate that it is maintaining the highest degree of environmental quality in many areas including environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.

 Marriott’s global Audubon program includes 23 golf courses at 17 international golf properties, highlighted by The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas and The Mallorca Marriott Son Antem Resort & Spa in Mallorca, Spain.

“With so much success in 2008, expanding the program to include our international properties was the next logical step and truly elevates our position as an environmental leader in worldwide golf course management,” said Robert Waller, senior director of grounds, Marriott Golf. “We are committed to promoting the game of golf in an eco-friendly way, and working with Audubon allows us to do that while also maintaining the integrity of our premier courses.”

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries for golf courses, which are endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provide information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat and protect natural resources. Each of these properties will achieve certification through a variety of methods, such as the development of water conservation plans; converting formerly managed turf into wildlife habitat; constructing nesting boxes for native birds; the creation of butterfly gardens; and much more.

“We are very pleased with the enhanced level of commitment Marriott is showing by expanding Audubon Certification to their 17 international golf properties,” said Kevin Fletcher, executive director of Audubon International. “This program directly enables golf courses to protect the environment by improving the quality of land, water, and air, along with conserving natural resources and protecting wildlife habitats. These proven environmental management practices will help preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf for many generations to come.”

Marriott International has been actively involved in energy conservation since the 1980s, and over the last decade launched environmental clean-up projects around the world, replaced 450,000 light bulbs with fluorescent lighting, introduced linen reuse programs, and installed 400,000 low-flow showerheads and toilets at its hotels worldwide.

 Recently, Marriott’s headquarters in Bethesda, along with its timeshare division based in Orlando, Fla., replaced more than 2.5 million pieces of Styrofoam and plastic utensils with those made of potato (“SpudWare”), sugar cane, and cornstarch, all fully biodegradable within an average of 100 days.

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