FEI takes lead on sustainable equestrian future
Friday 10 November 2017
FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez led the way on equestrian sustainability at the IF Forum 2017, which brought together over 350 experts in sports, environmental and sustainability experts in the Olympic capital Lausanne (SUI).
The FEI’s own sustainability strategy and green practices, and its wider commitment to conserve the environment, were highlighted on the first day of the two-day IF Forum 2017 - Leading the way towards a Sustainable Agenda - an invite-only collaboration between the International Olympic Committee and International Federations, hosted by the SportAccord Convention.
“Equestrian sport is one of the most interested in conserving the environment because we are a truly global, Olympic and Paralympic sport that is in constant contact with our outstanding ambassador of nature - the horse,” Sabrina Ibáñez said.
The FEI Secretary General delivered one of the case studies in the opening session at the Forum, before joining a panel discussion focused on Infrastructure and Natural Sites. Talking on sustainable infrastructure, she revealed that the FEI is taking its sustainability strategy to the next level at its state-of-the-art Lausanne headquarters, in line with Recommendation 5 of Olympic Agenda 2020 which focuses on including sustainability in day-to-day operations.
The FEI headquarters were refurbished in 2011 using the internationally recognised Minergie sustainable building standard, which reduces energy consumption by 25 per cent. Only two per cent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met these standards at the time.
“The FEI is aiming to become the first office in Switzerland to be green office certified and all our 92 employees are looking forward to green office practices becoming an integral part of our daily work”, she said.
“We also take sustainability and a green future for our sport very seriously. Since establishing our sustainability programme in 2013, born from our desire to make a serious contribution towards conserving a sound environment for our sport, we are continuing to focus the attention of everyone involved in horse sport on the importance of green and sustainable practices.”
Earlier in the week, FEI Director of Education and Standards Dr Harald Müller addressed the European Parliament’s Equine Conference in Brussels (7 November), addressing over 70 politicians and equestrian specialists on the need for sustainable initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of events and create a positive social and economic legacy.
Dr Müller’s Innovation in Equestrian Sport roundtable fellow panellists included Member of European Parliament Hilde Vautmans, Belgian jumping athlete Bert Prouvé, Christophe Ameeuw, founder and CEO of equestrian event specialist EEM World, Young Riders Academy student Boy-Adrian van Gelderen and Frederic Bouix, Director General of the French Equestrian Federation and Chairman of FITE, the Equestrian Tourism Federation.
“Not only does equestrian sport promote excellent social values, but it is also innovating and carrying further sustainable value to increase European mobility, promote green events, popular events and new educative programmes, and creating new fans”, MEP Hilde Vautmans said. “As such, equestrian sport perfectly meets today’s values of welfare, social coherence and sustainability.”
“The FEI has a vital interest in establishing sustainable standards for the future,” Dr Müller said. “We are helping owners of training facilities as well as event organisers to ensure proper construction and maintenance of arena surfaces. The FEI has also developed a handbook to encourage event organisers to implement various sustainability initiatives to reduce negative environmental impact of events and create a positive social and economic legacy.”
The FEI Sustainability Handbook for Event Organisers is available here