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Ypäjä Equine College Calculates Carbon Footprint of Its First Major Outdoor Riding Event

In the summer of 2023, Ypäjä Equine Collegeo became the first in Finland to calculate the carbon footprint of a major outdoor riding event as part of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation’s Ekokompassi certification program.

In spring 2023, our collaboration with Helsinki International Horse Show allowed us to implement a carbon footprint monitoring system for a large outdoor equestrian competition, using their managed system.

We conducted a gate survey to collect data on the vehicles of attendees, measuring the distance traveled and the type of fuel used. The calculations for heavy transport vehicles, trailers, and similar equipment differed significantly from those for passenger vehicles.

Electricity and water consumption, waste quantities, and waste categorization were monitored on a daily basis. Waste collection points were set up at the competition venue.

The consumption of fuel and hydraulic fluids for maintenance and upkeep of the competition area using service vehicles was calculated. The fuel consumption of Hevosopisto’s staff transportation was also estimated.

Food quantities for the catering service were measured by weight per product, and the amount of food waste and bio-waste was calculated in kilograms. Consumption by both event attendees and the horses accommodated in the stables was also measured.

In total, approximately 1,500 data points were recorded in the system.

So, what do these results tell us?

The total calculated CO2 equivalent for the entire event is 22.2 tons, equivalent to the average carbon footprint of about two Finnish individuals for one year.

The carbon footprint per redeemed admission ticket is 29 kg CO2 equivalent.

The greatest environmental pressure is due to the transportation of event attendees, competitors, and spectators, accounting for 50% of the total emissions.

The next significant portion is related to external services and catering, at 33%.

The remaining 17% of emissions are distributed relatively evenly among various event areas.

What will we do based on these results?

Developing and incorporating various advisory services into event management will be a useful tool in the future. Proper waste sorting at the event location requires on-site presence and guidance at collection points.

Reducing the energy consumption of stable and staff accommodation overnight stays also requires guidance and direction. We have been developing energy monitoring methods as part of the certification and will continue on the right path. The use of renewable fuels and carbon-neutral electricity will help reduce the carbon footprint.

Reducing food waste is a global challenge, including in our microcosm. A clear message is that the food served on the plate should be consumed and not end up as bio-waste. Menu choices also define the size of the carbon footprint. Switching from meat to poultry, for example, significantly reduces emissions. We are also considering the use of the ResQ surplus food program.

Carpooling is a concept that reminds us all of our individual responsibility. As event organizers, we can only recommend maximizing the utilization of transportation equipment from the same direction to the competition venues.

Ypäjä equine College will continue its project activities in environmental practices, nature conservation, and energy efficiency in the right direction.

Let’s work together to make equestrian competitions an eco-friendly event.

Best regards, Juha Erola Nature and Environment Advisor, Ypäjä Equine College