Sustainability at the Forefront of The London International Horse Show

The London International Horse Show (16 – 20 December) returns to the capital for the first time since 2019 and once again sustainability is a top priority of the historic Show. Working collaboratively with the Show’s new venue for 2021 – ExCeL London – organisers of the London International Horse Show today announced a rundown of its plans to ensure the Christmas extravaganza is as environmentally conscious as possible.

The ExCeL venue itself is behind some fantastic initiatives to drive sustainability. All of the venue’s electricity is already procured from renewable sources, and the gas supply is carbon offset using UN credits. To improve energy efficiency, lighting will be set to 50% during the build‐up and break down of the Show. In 2007, ExCeL also joined the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest sustainability initiative.

The delicious food and catering outlets at the London International Horse Show are a draw for visitors, and this year sustainability is at the forefront. ExCeL London has worked hard to ensure that there is a much greater range of sustainable food choices available as part of the venue’s catering offering. Their caterers use a minimum of 80% British seasonal fruit and vegetables, and do not use any produce transported by aircraft. In addition, surplus food from several of ExCeL’s biggest events is donated to Community Food Enterprise, who distribute it to local projects around the London Borough of Newham.

The London International Horse Show’s team will work carefully with the caterers, designing menus that are both delicious and festive, while ensuring food waste is kept to an absolute minimum. However, if food does end up in the bin, it’s not the end! ExCeL London is home to the UK’s largest commercial wormery, which houses over 300,000 worms. Food waste is fed in, and eight months later the team at ExCeL collect the compost, which is then used to fertilise the green spaces around the site. Furthermore, all used vegetable oil is collected from the site and turned into bio‐fuel.

Building a show like the London International Horse Show requires a lot of elements. Re‐using and recycling is key to the Show’s sustainability plan, with many of the elements of the build, such as the arena seating, scaffolding, carpets, furniture and the Martin Collins arena surface are stored and brought out again year after year. The London International team also work with companies who specialise in recycling materials; for instance, the drapes that decorate the halls are recycled where possible, signage is packed away, and everything which can be repurposed or used again for the following show is stored safely. Even the manure from the stables is recycled; it is sent to a local farm for use on their fields. The Show will also be working closely with Shopping Village vendors to help them be as sustainable as possible, both during the build, and for their time onsite.

The 2021 Show also aims to minimise the use of single‐use plastics. All catering outlets will offer the opportunity to fill up water bottles free of charge, and additional water stations are installed around the Show. Non‐recyclable packaging and single use cutlery will be kept to the absolute minimum, and catering outlets will be happy to fill reusable coffee cups and will even offer you a discount for bringing your own. Separate bins are available at the Show to encourage visitors to separate their waste, meaning that the Show can recycle more and minimise environmental impact.

The easiest way for visitors to reduce their environmental impact is to travel via London’s extensive network of public transport links. The venue is accessible by rail, cable car and bicycle, and the tube and Docklands Light Railway are the speediest way of getting across the capital to the venue. At the point of purchasing tickets, visitors are asked if they would like to donate to offset their carbon footprint created by travelling to the Show.

Show Director, Simon Brooks‐Ward said, “Now more than ever, it’s important for us to make sure that the Show has as little environmental impact as possible. We are lucky to be supported by a venue such as ExCeL whose fantastic infrastructure makes the job much easier, but we are still working to ensure that every aspect of the London International Horse Show is as sustainable as it can be – in every area from the office, to the stands and the stables.”