Horses In Field

First industry-wide equine carbon calculator will launch this spring

Horses In Field

The first industry-wide equine carbon calculator has been created by technology industry leaders, Farm Carbon Toolkit, in a unique collaboration between Hartpury University, Derby College Group, Sparsholt College Group, and equine environmental sustainability specialists White Griffin

The tool, which will launch this spring, will be free to use for small equine businesses and enable those in horseracing and the wider equestrian industry to calculate both their carbon emissions and the potential carbon stored within their land. 

Environmental sustainability has become an industry critical topic since the White Griffin 2022 environmental sustainability report was produced for the British Horseracing Authority. 

This was supported by the production of similar reports in 2023 for Horse Sport Ireland and the British Equestrian Federation that outlined the risks, challenges and opportunities for the industry. All three reports identified a need to support businesses with data collation in order to baseline carbon emissions. In doing so, businesses can understand where the majority of their carbon footprint lies and begin work to reduce emissions in those areas. 

The calculator is based upon the existing agricultural tool created by Farm Carbon Toolkit, adapted to cater for the unique nature of equestrian businesses. Farm Carbon Toolkit is an independent, farmer-led community interest company supporting farmers to measure, understand and act on their greenhouse gas emissions, while improving their business resilience for the future. For over a decade, Farm Carbon Toolkit has delivered a range of practical projects, tools and services that have inspired real action on the ground.

In addition to input from the project organisations, a working group of equine businesses has been used to pilot the technology, and harness insight from Landex. 

Ruth Dancer, Director of White Griffin said: “Collaboration is key to successful outcomes in environmental sustainability and I am delighted to be working with Hartpury University and its fellow organisations to provide a tool for the equine industries that will truly create change on a vast scale. This calculator will sit within an overall equine industry strategy, to help people gain an understanding both of their impact, but also of ways in which they can reduce their emissions and enhance the potential of their land for the benefit of nature and carbon sequestration.”

Rosie Scott-Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Hartpury University said: "Our involvement with the equine industry carbon calculator reflects our commitment to providing businesses and individuals with the tools to measure and minimise their environmental impact. One of our key research areas at Hartpury University is around sustainability within agriculture and farming, so it's exciting to see such a development in the equine industry. We look forward to working with our partners to empower the industry to make informed, sustainable decisions for the benefit of our planet and future generations."

Staff and student involvement

Rachel Collins (Associate Head of Department at Hartpury University) and Amy Robbins (Equine Lecturer at Hartpury College) will lead Hartpury's involvement, alongside students taking master's module "Developing a Sustainable Equine Industry on the MSc Applied Equine Science, MSc Equitation Science and MRes Equestrian Science.

There will be opportunities for students across the board to become involved in the process of calculating the impact of equestrian activities, which will be hugely beneficial to them as they go out into industry.

Sustainability remains a key focus area for Hartpury University and Hartpury College in 2024. It was recently announced that college students would help to plant 5000 hedge plants and five hectares of trees as part of a regional woodland connectivity project.