Featured / February 7, 2024

First free to use equine carbon calculator developed by academic collaboration and White Griffin

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

The tool will be free to use for small equine businesses and enable horse racing and equestrians 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 for the British Horse racing Authority, sponsored by the Racing Foundation and the 2023 reports for Horse Sport Ireland and the British Equestrian Federation outlining the risks, challenges and opportunities for both sectors. 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. 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.

Director of White Griffin, Ruth Dancer, said, “collaboration is key to successful outcomes in environmental sustainability and I am delighted to be working with these 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.”

Calculator Manager, Lizzy Parker at Farm Carbon Toolkit, said, “our existing tool for farmers is very popular and we have spent a decade working to make it easy-to-use for a diverse range of business structures and land use types. We’re really excited to be part of this collaboration to bring a similar tool to the equine industry so that businesses can build both their environmental resilience as well as their business resilience.”    

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.”

Jon Collins, Assistant Principal at Derby College Group (DCG) commented: “I started looking into the concept with Amy Robbins from Sparsholt and Rachel Collins from Hartpury College, around a year ago, as whilst I was aware of many farm carbon toolkits, I hadn’t been able to find one specifically for equine. So, we then proceeded to create a team of experts, including Ruth Dancer from White Griffin and Lizzy Parker from the Farm Carbon Toolkit, who are leading the equine carbon calculator. I believe it should be a very user-friendly and valuable tool for equestrian centres across the country, to evidence how they are doing in relation to sustainability and achieving net zero. So, we wanted to provide a tool that is free of charge and that the national equestrian community can use. It really has been so exciting working on such a collaborative and beneficial project.”

Amy Robbins, Learning and Standards Manager at Sparsholt College Group said: “As a part of Sparsholt College Group’s sustainability group, we were looking for ways we could reduce our waste and be more sustainable at the Equine Centre and calculate our carbon footprint. Having met with Jon and Rachel, it was clear we were all like-minded and wish to bring more awareness to our own establishments as well as the industry as a whole. Becoming part of this project is very exciting for us and thanks to the expertise of Lizzy Parker from the Farm Carbon Toolkit and Ruth Dancer from White Griffin, we are thrilled to be working on an equine carbon calculator. This will be a free to access and easy to use tool for centres across the industry to calculate their carbon and reduce it as much as possible to promote sustainability and awareness in our field. We look forward to the next stages of its development.”

The equine carbon calculator will be launched to the equine industries in the spring of 2024. Interested parties in the technology may contact Lizzy Parker at Farm Carbon Toolkit calculator@farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk.      

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