In our ongoing search for best practices for sustainable equestrian centres, stables and events we were happy to find out that the Strömsholm, one of the Swedish National Equestrian centres has been ISO14001 certified since 2002.
Linda Kjellberg explains; ‘We started the preparations for the ISO14001 certification already back in 1998. If you want to do it properly it takes time to prepare and to determine a status quo, to make a base line from where you can work.’
Can you explain to our readers what made Strömsholm focus on sustainability?
Not only is Strömsholm located in the middle of a nature conservation area, with 200 horses stabled here it is a good way to keep track of what we do and why we do it. It is furthermore a good way to set an example for our partners and students. We think it is also important to show that you are professional and run the stables as a professional organisation. The ISO certification helps us to keep up with government regulations and it helps us to improve ourselves.
Can you explain to our readers what the ISO14001 certification implies for the daily care of horses at Strömsholm?
The horses don’t notice it so much themselves. We muck out the paddocks daily, to prevent ground water pollution. The roughage we source from local nearby farmers.
Actually, the certification had more impact on the humans. It made us think and helped us to get the right mindset throughout the entire organisation. Becoming a sustainable stable is not that difficult, it is usually the small things that matter. We have six indoor arena’s that are heated in the winter. Some of them have geothermal heating, others used to be heated with oil, but now
we use rapeseed oil. We increased our knowledge of waste and were able to reduce the amount of household waste. Another example is the awareness of what kind of products you use for cleaning. What kind of chemicals are in there? Usually there is a better alternative, that cleans just as well. It is mostly a matter of raising awareness.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in becoming a sustainable stable?
Brake old patterns. To find a new way of doing things. Like finding new partners; we used to source our roughage from further away, but now we have local partners, that even recycle part of the manure on their land.
What kind of feedback have you had?
Most of our partners are certified as well, so we can raise environmental awareness through the entire supply chain. And of course we educate our students on this topic as well.
Towards the local government it helped us to gain credibility. They feel safe about our operation and it helped us to build a good relationship.
If I wanted to transform my stables into a more sustainable stable, what would be the first thing you would change in general?
Try to firstly record your current situation. How much energy you use, how much gas/oil you use for heating? What kind of chemicals? How is your mineral supply organised, what happens to the manure? Make a plan from there.
If done right it can lower the cost of operation and it can help you to be professional in every way.
Pictures with permission of Strömsholm
More information about Strömsholm: visit their website.