Racing’s sustainable future – help map our environmental activity

08 Feb 2022 BHA Features Grassroots

Work is underway to map industry activity that aims to help future-proof racing, its organisations, and the livelihoods of its people, against immediate and long-term environmental challenges.  

Delivered in partnership with sustainability consultancy, White Griffin, the project seeks to build a clearer picture of projects and initiatives taking place already across British racing and breeding, and support the industry in identifying opportunities for further progress.

Everyone working in or involved with racing and breeding is encouraged to get involved by taking part in an online questionnaire, which runs until Monday 14 February and is available here.

It can be completed on behalf of an organisation (e.g., yard, stud, racecourse, business, charity etc.) and by individuals interested in or knowledgeable about sustainability.

Alongside the questionnaire, a series of focus group-style sessions are in progress, which seek to explore some of the environmental projects in greater detail and discuss the sustainability challenges and opportunities for racing.

The sessions have sought input from various individuals and industry bodies representing racecourses, breeders, trainers, owners, vets, officials, and others, with a view to also capturing some of the expertise, awareness and interest that exists across the industry.

The engagement work is taking place online and, where possible through site visits. Additional sessions are being arranged for the coming weeks, with anybody interested in contributing to the project encouraged to contact:

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

“We knew before we started this scoping assessment into racing’s progress on environmental sustainability that there was a huge amount of work already underway, but that this exercise would also help us identify gaps and further opportunities.

“Climate change presents major challenges for our industry and our hope is that by measuring and understanding where we are now, we can enable industry leaders to plan more effectively for the future.

“Gathering the initial information and data is crucial to this process, and therefore I encourage everyone to complete the questionnaire and help ensure we benefit from a comprehensive assessment.” 

Commenting on the work to date, Ruth Dancer, Director of White Griffin said:  

“We’ve been very pleased with the initial response to the call for information. There is so much activity taking place within racing and breeding, and it’s been fascinating to speak with so many people about their specific projects – and ambitions for future progress.

“The conversations are so varied and cover a wide-range of subject areas, such as the use of water and other resources on the racecourse, how vast-swathes of multi-purpose land is managed, and the movement of horses and people, both across Britain and internationally.

“The more information we have the better, as it enables us to build a more complete picture; not just of activity, but also existing industry expertise, awareness and interest – all of which is fundamental to the project.” 

Notes to editors 

1. The questionnaire can be completed here.

2. About British racing’s sustainability project

The information collected through this questionnaire will be used to support British racing’s initial assessment into the sport’s progress on environmental sustainability, which aims to inform the industry’s long-term planning.

Responses to the questionnaire will be reviewed by sustainability consultancy, White Griffin, which is working with the environmental sustainability project group to deliver the project objectives

Commissioned by industry leaders and initiated and funded by the Racing Foundation, the project seeks to build a clearer picture of ongoing sustainability initiatives, while identifying some of the key issues, risks and opportunities for racing.

The key project objectives are:

  • To review British racing’s current progress on environmental sustainability, building an understanding of current and planned activities
  • Identify the main sustainability issues, risks, and opportunities for British racing, including potential scenarios and timeframes
  • Present an initial assessment of where issues might remain the responsibility of individual organisations / businesses, or where collective action may be necessary
  • Make a series of recommendations about what steps racing could take to start embedding environmental sustainability in its overarching industry and individual business strategies.

More information about the project is available here. 

 3. About the Racing Foundation

In 2012 the Racing Foundation was established to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within the racing and thoroughbred industry following the sale of the Tote. Since inception it has awarded £25.7million in grants. People, equine welfare, community engagement and environment and emerging issues are the key areas of focus in the latest strategy.

The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Julia Budd (Chair), Linda Bowles, Susannah Gill, Mark Johnston, Louise Kemble, Alice Page and Algy Smith-Maxwell. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the Racing Foundation, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297).