The steps that can be taken to run equestrian events sustainably were detailed by Germany’s Dr Harald Müller during the opening afternoon session of the FEI Sports Forum.
Müller, who is the FEI’s director of education and standards, spoke of the FEI’s Sustainability Programme and its new sustainability handbook for event organisers.
It was circulated during the session and is also available online.
It encourages organisers to implement sustainability initiatives based on their own priorities to help reduce negative environmental impact and create positive legacies.
“Sustainable sporting events are a major priority for organisers and the network of organisations who help make these happen – governments, sponsors and the communities in which the events takes place to name just a few,” Müller said.
“Equestrian events are unique in many ways, and are also very different to each other based on geography, existing infrastructure and financing, but they do have one thing in common: sustainable action can be taken at every event.
“The FEI Sustainability Handbook is designed to highlight how, and also what proactive measures can be taken in the future.”
The FEI will introduce several sustainability initiatives, including an interactive web platform, which will include a knowledge database and diverse sustainability benchmarking tools to enable event organisers to work together with the FEI and with each other on development.
FEI president Princess Haya said: “Respect for nature has always been integral to equestrian sport through its connection to horses and the outdoors.
“The Sustainability Handbook for event organisers gives us a solid framework to improve and expand our efforts to protect the environment and ensure that equestrian events create a lasting positive legacy.”
Jeremy Edwards, of Australia, who was venue general manager for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and equestrian site manager for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, underlined the importance of having an established sustainability policy for equestrian events.
“The sooner we have clear sustainability guidance for organisers to follow the better,” said Edwards, who is currently general manager of the Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee.
“In reality, we have a very short period of time to consider sustainability at events, and to include it at every stage of the build-up.
“We need considered sustainability targets for equestrian events, timeframes and strong monitoring throughout the event preparation, and also full feedback post-event for clear learning and implementation next time. That would be an ideal sustainable approach in my view.”
Online Entry System
The FEI Online Entry System, the platform that enables organising committees and national federations to process the entries of athletes and horses to manage results more efficiently, was reviewed in the second afternoon session.
The FEI’s IT manager, Gaspard Dufour, highlighted the key system developments and outlined areas for further improvement with the national federations.
Sports Forum delegates were invited to give feedback on how the system has facilitated their work and discuss ways in which it could be further improved.
Justin Provos, director of IT with the United States Equestrian Federation and a panelist for the session, underlined the Online Entry System’s importance against the backdrop of increasingly busy competition schedules.
“The system gives us important athlete information at our fingertips, and is very easy to use, which is vital for our busy athlete services team who, on a yearly basis, are dealing with the needs of thousands of athletes,” he said.
An online discussion platform to continue the debate on all topics discussed at the FEI Sports Forum 2014 is available here.