Sustainability is a hot topic right now within every industry, with many companies and brands asking what they can and should do to help the environment.
Single-use plastics are getting a lot of attention and there are now huge expectations for all organisations to do more to reduce their use.
This is something that Cheltenham Racecourse has been striving to do for a number of years and we focus on many different initiatives and projects that help reduce our carbon footprint.
Our most recent project this year saw the installation of solar panels on the roof of The Centaur auditorium – the biggest venue of its kind between Birmingham and Bournemouth, which is used for everything from gigs to major exhibitions.
Having a venue of this size, 2,600m² of space, means that it uses a lot of power, so using alternative energies is essential and we are already seeing results.
It is not the first time that we have installed solar panels, the Weighing Room roof also has them, as well as ground source heat pumps within the Princess Royal Stand.
Measures like these go a long way in helping the environment and it is very much part of our corporate social responsibility.
Renewable energy is just one step, and we as an organisation have to continue to do more which is why we have enlisted the help of our Green Champions.
These are employees throughout the racecourse who spread the green message such as the correct ways to recycle waste, making sure electricals like lights and computers are switched off as well as spotting opportunities and making recommendations on how we can improve things further.
It may seem like small tasks, but these kinds of things all help and add up to less consumption of energy across the site and improve our recycling rates.
As a matter of course we have recycle bins in all public areas and last year our overall recycling rate stood at 73 per cent, the most challenging time of year is The Festival but even during this mammoth event, we achieved 64 per cent.
Having won Environmental Business of The Year at The Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen Business Awards 2015, we have a reputation for being a sustainable business and we’re always looking at the next steps we can take to push this further.
Obviously many are turning their attention to single-use plastic straws, these are not available on our bars and we are looking into alternative products to all single-use plastic across our racecourse with short, medium and long term plans for elimination where operationally feasible.
In addition, we are aiming to provide water fountains for people to use as refill stations to cut down on plastic.
As a rural business we know the beauty and value of this planet, so we need to do our bit to protect it!