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Environmental sustainability

Across sport, there is a growing awareness of the collective responsibility to the environment. British Equestrian is acutely aware of both its environmental and social responsibilities and understands changes may be needed to ensure the equestrian way of life is as environmentally conscious as possible.

Our environmental vision:

To create a biodiverse future, where horses and humans thrive in a healthy ecosystem; where we only take what the earth can sustain, and through responsive stewardship of the land, we lead the way in benefiting the natural world.

British Equestrian released a summary of our 2023 research report on the impact of equestrianism on the environment and a vision for the future which outlines a commitment to action the opportunities outlined to create a more sustainable horse – human – planet partnership.

A comprehensive report was delivered by the team from White Griffin which outlines the impact of equestrianism on the environment, the risks, challenges and opportunities we face, a baseline for the equine industry and recommendations.  Key headlines from the questionnaire include:

  • 67% of those who took part stated environmental sustainability is very important to them.
  • The responses indicate the potential of developing the relationship between equestrianism and agriculture with 73% of landowners grazing livestock alongside horses.
  • 83% of respondents said waste was the most important topic to address with 80% of individuals citing removal of single use plastics as the second priority.
  • Most organisations said lack of money (41%) and time (26%) as their barriers to change.
  • Encouragingly, 94% of respondents requested training or access to information to help improve their environmental impact.

 BEF environmental sustainabilty report Summary 

An environmental working group was then established from member body representatives to work concurrently with the BEF Board on the summary document and, in consultation with White Griffin, shape the key points, aspirations and recommendations into a vision document which makes six commitments to environment responsibility to take on the challenges and opportunities around creating a sustainable future.

BEF environmental sustainabilty Vision document 

The vision document outlines a collective agreement to:

Lead and inspire – continuous improvement in our operations to reduce emissions, use less resources and improve waste management.

Educate and inform – provide support to individuals and businesses so they understand the risks, challenges and opportunities of environmental sustainability through centralised resources.

Focus on the achievable – aim for small, manageable changes which collectively have a big impact.

Communicate regularly – highlight progress as well as raise awareness of legislation and risk to help prepare for change.

Create meaningful partnerships – work with organisations and businesses that share our vision and add value.

Influence and lobby – recognise those who are advocating responsible practices, ensure all equestrians are supported to take action to protect the natural world and collaborate with other sectors to drive improvements.

The next stage in the process is the development of an overarching strategy for the federation which covers the BEF as an operational organisation and a federation-wide blueprint to provide leadership and support to the member bodies and to complement their own environmental strategies. Work is underway and the documents will be available in the New Year with a corresponding awareness and education campaign to inspire and engage the industry.

Uk Sport and sport england

Funding partners UK Sport and Sport England have prioritised environmental sustainability as a key area in their social impact campaign to harness the power of sport to drive positive change. UK Sport launched an ambitious strategy in March 2023, the Team of Tomorrow. As part of their actions, national governing bodies will be supported with their sustainability aspirations and the BEF has been selected as part of an innovation cluster accelerator programme alongside British Canoeing, the Royal Yachting Association, British Rowing and British Mountaineering Council. The programme will support the cluster towards producing a carbon footprint and action plan to lead the way for all funded sports to follow.

what can equestrians do personally?

We'll be working on support and resources for use across the equestrian industry but in the meantime, here's some tips to help you towards reducing your environmental impact:

Consumer
Water
Reduce how much you buy Rainwater harvesting
Rent instead of buy Installing water saving technology
Repair instead of buy Turn the taps off!
Can you buy second hand instead of new?
Pasture
Energy
Diversify your pasture
Switch lights and plugs off Leave grass to grow longer
Monitor your travel Reduce food waste
Share journeys Plant pollinator flowers
Switching to/installing renewable energy Installing hedgerows
Eat local and seasonal Planting trees
Reducing dairy and meat consumption Collaborating with farmers for manure use
  Make space for nature
  Speak to your vet about deworming