Environmental sustainability project to review racing’s progress and support long-term planning

British racing’s leaders have commissioned an initial assessment of the sport’s progress on environmental sustainability, to help support and inform the industry’s long-term planning.

This work aims to build a clearer overall picture of current environmental activities and expertise across racing and breeding – establishing what’s already being done, where there’s potential to go further, and how this could be achieved.

It will also identify the key sustainability issues, risks, and opportunities for racing, so that the industry can better understand the challenges of climate change and plan most effectively to develop viable and evidence-based solutions.

The scoping assessment is likely to cover several areas of environmental sustainability, including CO2 emissions, decarbonisation and renewable energy, management of key resources such as water and plastics, and potential for positive contributions through biodiversity.

Initiated and funded by the Racing Foundation, the project will start immediately and take place over a three-month period. It will be delivered by White Griffin, a sustainability consultancy with dedicated project management and environmental science expertise.

Working closely with industry representatives from the BHA, Horsemen’s Group and RCA, White Griffin will actively engage with racing’s businesses, employers, and participants, particularly those with interest or specialist expertise in environmental sustainability.

The project team is currently completing an initial scoping exercise, before moving to the wider industry engagement phase in early January 2022.

Brant Dunshea, BHA Chief Regulatory Officer and Project Executive Sponsor, said:

“Climate change and sustainability are major challenges for our sport, given how dependent we are on the environment, transportation, and the use of essential resources.

“There is a real opportunity here for British racing to lead progress in this area, taking positive action to find effective solutions to the challenges we face – and crucially grasp some of the opportunities.

“This foundation research will help us do this by measuring where we are now, plus where there’s scope to go further, either as individual organisations and businesses, or collectively through an industry-wide strategy.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, said:

“We believe that environmental sustainability is crucial to British racing’s long-term future and prosperity, which is why it is key pillar of the Racing Foundation’s strategy.

“A large amount of work has already been carried out across the industry, ranging from decarbonisation efforts to grassland management and waste reduction, so this work will help build an overall picture of where we are and where we want to be.

“We are pleased to fund this initial package of work, which it is hoped will inform the next steps in terms of determining the need for an industry-wide approach to sustainability.

Ruth Dancer, Director of White Griffin, added:

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the racing industry on this project. Racing is unique as a sport in terms of its relationship with the environment, so this is a really exciting area, with huge potential.

“Working closely with individuals and businesses from across the industry, we will explore the existing expertise and enthusiasm within racing, gather information about ongoing activities, and make recommendations on where there’s potential for further action.”