Waste Management (NYSE: WM) today announced that the Shell Houston Open has been named the winner of its inaugural Sustainability Challenge. In a contest that invited all PGA TOUR tournaments to detail their respective sustainable event initiatives, The Shell Houston Open received the highest ranking out of 24 tournament submissions for its cumulative score in the following categories: Materials Management, Natural Resources Tracking and Conservation, Economic Impact and Overall Sustainability.

In an effort to spread sustainability-driven event planning, similar to the successful programs implemented by Waste Management at its eponymous Phoenix Open, The PGA TOUR distributed a voluntary questionnaire. The sustainability services team at Waste Management graded participating tournaments.

As the winners of the Sustainability Challenge, Shell Houston Open executives were invited to attend the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open and Waste Management’s fourth annual Executive Sustainability Forum during tournament week (Jan. 27 – Feb. 2, 2014).

“In addition to honoring us for our sustainability initiatives at the Shell Houston Open, Waste Management was also responsible for driving much of the behind-the-scenes efforts that are helping us build the most sustainable event possible,” said Steve Timms, tournament director for the Shell Houston Open and president and CEO of the Houston Golf Association. “We are committed to the belief that sustainability is the right thing to do.”

“Waste Management is not only dedicated to greening the game of golf and raising the bar in sustainability and sports, but we also have a social responsibility to educate and engage others,” said Dave Aardsma, chief sales and marketing officer, Waste Management. “The Sustainability Challenge has provided us the opportunity to recognize the successes of PGA TOUR tournaments like the Shell Houston Open so that others will be encouraged to follow our lead.”

Since 2007, Waste Management has been a committed partner to the Houston Golf Association and the Shell Houston Open, played at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas. In 2013, the Shell Houston Open committed to executing a sustainable tournament and to reducing the amount of materials sent to the landfill. To help achieve this, Waste Management designed a plan to produce less waste and enhance diversion through material reuse, recycling and composting. Through the development of an enhanced triple-bottom-line sustainability strategy (incorporating three dimensions of performance: social, environmental and financial) the 2013 tournament exceeded environmental goals and expectations and achieved an overall diversion rate of 87.3 percent.

As title sponsor of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Waste Management continues to evolve innovative programs to increase environmental and social responsibility at the tournament. The Waste Management Phoenix Open has become a major platform for showcasing Waste Management’s sustainability initiatives, including the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. In 2012, Waste Management launched the “Zero Waste Challenge,” an initiative aimed at controlling materials brought into the event. In 2014, Waste Management continues the “Zero Waste Challenge” for a third year as part of its company-wide effort to reach its goal to triple the amount of recyclable materials nationwide by the year 2020 and extract the most value possible from all of the materials the company manages.