Sustainability In Horse Racing: Is The Industry Doing Their Part?

Sustainability issues continue to make global headlines, with every government pledging to do more to stop the rising emissions. Sport is no different when it comes to the roles that they can play in helping ease the burden, with many now looking to change programmes to ensure that travel via planes is kept to a minimum. 

One sport that has come under the spotlight for their sustainability is horse racing, with the courses involved in the sport taking drastic actions to ensure that they are doing everything to play their part. So today we won’t be talking about the waging aspects of racing or what is an exact box bet. This article is all about how the sport takes sustainability in consideration.

However, what are the sustainability elements in place at racecourses across the world that are seeing the sport play its part?

Worrying Reports Emerge

The spotlight was firmly placed on the sport of horse racing in 2022 when a report revealed that racing needed to take an ‘industry-wide’ approach to mitigate the growing risk of climate change. 

The report was published by White Griffin, with the main issues focusing on the need for racecourses to focus on their preparations for extreme weather conditions. It was found that racing was the third-biggest water consumer in the leisure industry, with many pleading with the sport to reduce their consumption due to ongoing water shortages. 

Changes in infrastructure are also a massive factor that should be addressed, with 91 race meets cancelled in the UK between 2017 and 2019 due to waterlogging. It was also found that a further 14 meetings were cancelled due to hard ground, which increased the risk of flooding. 

Changes In Water Consumption

One of the biggest issues that was found in the recent report was the amount of water consumption within the racing industry. However, this is a factor that a number of the most esteemed racecourses across the globe are looking to counter-act. Ascot has been a leader in their pledge to be Net Zero, and their response toward water consumption has been followed across the world. 

The course now hosts an on-site reservoir which collects rain water throughout the year, before using it to water the grounds and hose down horses after they have races. This new method has seen the hot water storage reduced at the course from 900 litres to 250 litres, leading to a better sustainability effort at the course. 


Ascot is also among the leading racecourses when it comes to energy in the United Kingdom. The course prides itself on using 100% renewable energy across the course, and it has rolled out LED and motion detectors on over 1,290 lights at the track. This has seen a massive 70% reduction in energy consumption at Ascot since their inception. 

Ascot also rolled out their own solar power site in 2022, which led to a brand new programme being brought into convert thermal energy to electricity. Travel is a part of the sport that is hard to overlook, but racecourses are also doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Many now use HVO derived diesel to power generators. As well as this, this is also used to power battery hand tools and buggies for staff to navigate their way around the track. 

Recycling & Waste Management

One of the biggest issues that racecourses need to address is the waste management on site. Due to race meetings being hugely popular social events, there is typically a lot of waste leftover by Racegoers, whether it be empty cups or paper plates. However, that is something that courses are working to address, with many now banning single-use plastic cups, with drinks often served in re-usable cups. 

This idea has been hugely beneficial to racecourses across the world, with Ascot finding that they are washing and re-using over 500,000 cups each year. The course also has a unique relationship with Harrogate Water, which ensures a closed-loop on their plastic bottle scheme. This means that all waste cardboard and plastics are able to be reused as other materials and products, contributing to 0% of waste to a landfill. 

Biodiversity Schemes

Racecourses are front and centre when it comes to unique biodiversity schemes that are helping to make the areas are more sustainable environment. Ascot and Ayr are two of the racecourses at the forefront when it comes to their approach, with both seeing up beehives to attract wildlife. As well as this, a number of racecourses also have made pledges to grown tress on their grounds, to ensure that they don’t fall victim to deforestation. 

It was found last year that over 100 trees have been planted at Ascot due to the partnership with Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, which has ensured that over 3,700 trees have been saved from deforestation. These new schemes that have been put in place certainly ensure that racecourses are answering the pleas to be more sustainable, and they are going above and beyond other sports within the sector.