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FEI Promotes Sustainability


Horse Manure Boosts Energy Production

From Shannon Gibbons

Lausanne (SUI), November 7, 2018 – On the day the International Federation (IF) Sustainability Forum was held in Lausanne (SUI) (Nov. 5-7, 2018), the FEI was already working behind the scenes on sustainability initiatives, including its adoption earlier this year of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and is now well on the way to adapting each of the GRI indicators to fit equestrian sport.

Crucially, this will allow equestrian event organizers across the globe to effectively implement and measure the impact of their sustainability initiatives. And sustainability has been a part of the equestrian sport’s landscape for some time.

The organizing committee for last month’s Helsinki International Horse Show (HIHS) has already put in place a wide range of sustainability initiatives. Feedback from the show is currently being incorporated into an updated version of the FEI’s flagship Sustainability Handbook.

This 36-page guide, originally published in 2014 and now being updated in line with the GRI, serves to aid and encourage event organizers to implement sustainability initiatives that will create positive social and economic legacies while reducing negative environmental impacts.

The HIHS is a great example of the innovation and application being displayed by organizers of equestrian events across the world. The 2018 edition of the show didn’t just generate enough sustainable energy to power its own event, it managed to produce a surplus of 36 MWh (megawatt hours) – enough energy to propel an electric car 288,000km or heat 36 Finnish apartments for a month. And it all came from horse manure!

Finnish company Fortum HorsePower – partner of the HIHS since 2015 – provided almost 600 bales of shavings to ensure comfy bedding for all 235 horses competing at this year’s show. In return, the animals produced 112 tons of manure, which was transformed into 168MWh (megawatt hours) of energy at local plant, Fortum Jarvenpaa.

While it’s a clear win-win for all concerned, energy production was far from the whole story at the HIHS in 2018. In fact, everywhere you looked, green initiatives were taking hold.

As part of the event-wide ‘HIHS Jumps Green’ project, the organizing committee reduced overall paper usage by an impressive 64%, employed electric and bicycle-powered transport wherever possible, significantly increased recycling and reuse efforts across the venue, and massively reduced food waste and single-use plastics.

Equestrian sport fans –more than 50,000 of them across the five-day event – got involved too, posting their best environmentally-friendly initiatives on the event’s social media platforms. One lucky participant even received free tickets for the 2019 show in return. And visitors to the show in 2019 will be greeted by even more green initiatives, with the organizing committee having already revealed its intention to introduce a Green Partner project with Fortum.

These are just the kind of efforts the FEI happily promotes but, like all good leaders, the governing body knows the hard work must start at home. So the FEI’s headquarters in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne (SUI) have become the center of a Green Office project.

Although the HQ of horse sport is already a Minergie certified building – a Swiss standard indicating low energy use – the FEI is asking more of itself. Following an external audit, employees from top to bottom are reducing the organization and building’s environmental impact still further by such actions as eliminating disposable cutlery and cups, improving recycling efforts through increased segregation, and avoiding waste types by eliminating their sources.

Not many sports can, or perhaps would want to say, that their biggest events can be powered by the natural waste of their star athletes! But that is just another example of why horse sport is the best sport!

Find more information about the FEI Sustainability Handbook at:

Editor’s notes: I was fascinated by the thought of producing energy from horse manure – “turning poop into power” – so I checked out the Fortum HorsePower website:  Fortum claims “that two horses produce enough manure to generate heat for a single-family-home for a year” Check it out!

Following are other websites with information on converting horse manure to renewable energy:

Check out the Muckbuster anaerobic digester at:

From just this small sampling, one can see that there are enormous possibilities for renewable energy production from valuable horse manure.

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