Electric vehicles

One of Finland’s largest annual sports events, Helsinki International Horse Show, decreased its carbon footprint by almost 11% from 2022 to 2023. The total carbon footprint of the event is equivalent to the average annual carbon footprint of 57 persons. The carbon footprint of one Horse Show visitor is comparable to driving 140 km by car or heating four saunas.

The result was verified using the carbon footprint calculator developed by Helsinki Horse Show. It is reportedly the first carbon footprint calculator, or playfully named the “Carbon Hoofprint” calculator, specifically designed for equestrian events.

World-leading sustainable equestrian event

“The Helsinki Horse Show’s vision is to be the world-leading sustainable equestrian event,” says Event Director Tom Gordin.

The event established its own Jumps Green environmental program in 2017. Helsinki Horse Show is recognized by the international equestrian federation FEI as a model event for sustainable development. Horse Show has received numerous awards for its environmental initiatives, including SPOT Awards 2020 for International Implementation of the Year and Sport Business Awards 2020 in London in the sustainability category.

The carbon footprint calculator has been used twice at Helsinki Horse Show, and in addition, Ypäjä’s Finnderby and the Belgian Waregem horse racing competition have also utilized it.

Refill your own water bottle

Both subcontractors and partners, as well as visitors and riders, have been encouraged to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint and enhancing ecological practices. Participants are actively informed and guided on recycling before and during the event.

For instance, spectators can fill their own water bottles with clean tap water in the hall – a practice admired by many foreign visitors. There has been a significant reduction in paper usage, as tickets, programs, start and result lists, as well as internal communication, have been changed to digital platforms. Electric vehicles are used in production and recycling is promoted through active information and guidance.

Spectators carbon footprint decreased

“For spectators, the event’s location in the heart of Helsinki with excellent public transportation connections is significant. The carbon footprint of spectator travelling decreased by an impressive 25 % compared to the previous year,” explains Event Manager Anna-Maija Bernard.

The Horse Show crowd enjoys the event for an average of over 11 hours. Increasing the amount of vegetarian food and reducing food waste positively impacts the carbon footprint. VIP guests were served exclusively vegetarian food only in 2023 for the first time.

Recylced materials

“Waste recycling at the Horse Show is very high, and the event has embraced circular economy thinking since 2017. Efficiency in reducing and recycling purchases has been achieved through effective inventory management,” praises Bernard.

Travelling is a challenge

The most significant environmental impacts arise from the travelling of the spectators, competitors, and volunteers, as well as waste, accommodation, food, and production. The carbon footprint of travel accounted for 62 % of the events’ total. The combined share of purchased products, with food as the largest contributor, services, and energy was approximately 30 %.

Data for the carbon footprint calculator was obtained through targeted surveys and visitor studies. The measurement required several months of groundwork, specific extensive activities during the event, and finally, weeks of data collection, compilation and analysis.

For more information: anna-maija.bernard@helsinkihorseshow.fi

Helsinki Horse Show will take place at Helsinki Ice Hall from October 23 to 27, 2024. International top equestrians will compete in the World Cup event for 500 000 euros prize money and crucial World Cup points. Over 50 000 visitors are expected to attend the five-day event at the Helsinki Ice Hall.