The European Equestrian Federation is working in partnership with Wageningen University and Research and the Swedish Equestrian Federation (Svenska Ridsportförbundet) to research the carbon impact of an elite competition horse and understand how we can provide a more sustainable environment for our top athletes. To conduct this research, case studies from elite stables in Sweden are being formed and a calculation tool is being developed to measure CO2 emissions.
Lövsta Stuteri was founded 20 years ago and the business has grown and developed over the years. The business covers a range from foals and young horses, highly educated and successful competition horses, breeding stallions to retired horses spending their last days being well taken care of. In total approximately 100 horses are in their care. Environmental sustainability lies at the heart of the stables and is a core factor in the running of the stables. We speak to Lövsta Stuteri to learn more about their involvement in the study, and how they incorporate sustainability into their business.
What is a normal week at Lövsta Stuteri like?
Normally we start every day by training all the horses. Our horses are out of their boxes several times per day and variation is key for us when it comes to the education of the horses. All of the horses also turned out in paddocks or fields every day. Competitions are normally during weekends and depending on the location we start travelling so the horses will be on the competition site in good time.
Why were you interested in being part of the sustainability study?
Lövsta was ISO 14001 certified already in 2011 and we have a high ambition when it comes to sustainability. Furthermore, we want to contribute to helping and driving others to become more sustainable.
What does sustainability mean to you both as a business, and as a wider topic for the equestrian industry? Are there already initiatives in place at Lövsta Stuteri to try and reduce carbon outputs?
Sustainability is the only way forward if we want to save the planet and every organisation, company and individual has to do its best to improve in this area. This is very important and a constant focus in everything we do. We have a slogan : Save the Earth, it is the only planet with horses.
Some examples of what we do;
We measure and compare consumption every year, for example, energy, water, manure etc and review our sustainability goals every year, constantly with higher ambitions to improve ourselves. We are sorting waste, reducing our consumption and trying to buy environmentally friendly goods. We also have the ambition to have 75 % of our machine park fossil independent in 2025. We also climate compensate our travels to and from competitions.
For the wider industry, have installed a yearly award prize for the best environmental initiative in Sweden and in the US we support different organisations. Together with the Swedish Equestrian Federation, we have launched a sustainable programme, available for all the show organizers in Sweden to work with. Whenever we can, we take the opportunity to talk about sustainability and good horsemanship.
What is the “mood” in Sweden with regard to the environment and sustainability? Does the government place any pressure or incentives on businesses to be “more green”?
Yes, it is a broad focus on sustainability and CSR for both individuals, companies and the government. The vehicle to drive sustainable behaviour is both regulations and incentives and contributions to invest in environment friendly solutions.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing equine businesses to become more sustainable?
We need of course to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases and overfertilization of the ground.
We don´t want to stop competing so we need to travel in a sustainable way. We also need to find new initiatives and new innovations to improve things and we need to sponsor new innovations. We focus a lot on carbon dioxide emissions but it is also important to give more attention to the positive effects on humans and for the society as whole. Horses make us better and happier people. It means a lot for many young people and the love for horses unites people all over the world.
What support do you need to become even more sustainable?
It´s always important to learn more about facts, new insights and new inventions etc. If we don´t improve and take our responsibility it could result in different regulations, prohibitions and effect the perception of our sport in a negative way.
To learn more about Lövsta Stuteri and its sustainability efforts please see their website here. The results from the study are expected in early 2023 and will be shared across our member network. Following the study, the next stage of our work will be focused on allowing all member federations an opportunity to calculate emissions. With this collection of data and understanding of the key emissions areas, we will move towards clear and achievable emissions targets within the industry.
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