The climate crisis threatens our world as we know it. We know we must reduce carbon emissions, protect wild habitats, protect our waterways, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
But what does that mean for you, for us as an equestrian community and for our sport? It means that the things we use everyday make an impact, because EVERYTHING we do has an impact on the planet in some way or another. It means we all need to take small steps, leading to bigger ones when we do it together. Brands must rethink the way they make products to help us look after our horses.
When you shop in 2022 and beyond, you'll be seeing brands and products claiming to be 'eco-friendly' and 'sustainable'. What do they really mean? We need to ask "Is it really better?" "Will it reduce my carbon footprint?"
In order to help you make those decisions, we want to share with you the policies we have in place to ensure that every single product we sell IS better.
Why it's better
If you look for the little circular icons on every product page, these are a quick way of showing you what makes it eco-friendly. No product comes without a carbon footprint, but we promise that EVERY product we sell has a lower carbon footprint than their alternatives.
Here's how we measure sustainability:
This symbol indicates that the packaging this product comes in (horse care) or the product itself, can be disposed of in your household recycling bin. We try to avoid packaging & products that are not, at the very least, recyclable. If there are elements that can't be recycled (usually spray nozzles), we'll let you know on the product page. We aim for you to be able to save those and reuse them with a refill.
If you see this symbol, it means that the packaging or product is biodegradable in a traditional landfill setting. We will only label packaging or a product like this when it can decompose without help from chemicals and will not leak toxins into the environment as it degrades.
We'll show this symbol if you can dispose of the packaging and/or product on your muck heap when you've finished with it. Our criteria for this is that it will break down completely, leaving no toxins, within a matter of months.
You'll see this on every single horse care product we sell because it is a non-negotiable criteria for us. We ask ALL of our suppliers to confirm that none of the products or their ingredients have been tested on animals.
This criteria doesn't usually apply to clothing / accessories / horse wear so you won't see it on this type of product.
We aim to use organic ingredients as much as possible in both the horse care we sell and our clothing. The benefits of organic on the environment are plentiful: The production of organic cotton fabric uses much less energy, releases fewer greenhouse gases and due to the improved soil quality, uses significantly less water. Organically-farmed essential oils (used in horse care) are free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This means that we aren't contributing to the washing of toxic chemicals into our waterways.
You'll see us use this symbol if a product contains more than 70% organic materials.
We wanted to include this symbol as it is important for some of our customers. Products carrying this symbol have been made without using any animal derivatives. We are striving to carry as many vegan products as possible, but you might find that some horsecare contains honey and therefore isn't vegan.
This symbol indicates that the materials used in the product or packaging have been recycled. We are striving to use as much recycled fabric as we can in our clothing and horsewear. Products that need a bit of stretch usually contain an element of plastic (polyester). The raw material for these fibres is fossil fuels. Textile production consumes 1.35% of global oil production (which is more oil than the whole of Spain uses in a year!), contributing to fashions huge carbon footprint.
If we can move away from virgin polyester to recycled we can reduce emissions by an estimated 32%. In addition, we are diverting billions of plastic bottles, fishing nets etc away from landfill (and escaping into the sea!). We know this isn't perfect - recycled polyester still has a micro-plastics impact. So we're keeping a very close eye on fabric technology and working to find viable alternatives to fossil-fuel-derived synthetic fabrics.
or are free from any synthetics:
You'll see this symbol used whenever we've managed to eliminate plastic from the product and it's packaging entirely. We think it's really important to find equestrian products that avoid single-use plastic for several reasons:
- Plastic is made from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are not only a finite earth resource, but create more carbon dioxide than we can currently offset.
- Only 1/3 of UK plastic is recycled. The rest ends up in landfill, in our oceans, in the mouths of sealife.
- Plastic hangs around in the environment for at least hundreds of years. It doesn’t disappear, it just breaks down into tiny pieces that continue to pollute our lives.
At Honest Riders we know that we can reduce plastic easily by making better choices about the products we consume looking after our horses. We've done the hard work for you! Check out our plastic-free collection as a great place to start.
Wherever possible we aim to source British-made ingredients/fabrics and manufacture them in the UK in order to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of our products. As you can imagine, this is not always possible as raw material production very often occurs overseas. For example, recycled fabric and organic cotton have to be sourced from Asia, where they are made. Be wary of brands claiming the sustainability benefits of being 'Made in the UK' alone as quite often, their raw materials are from the other side of the world and their carbon footprint is therefore no lower than it would be if they produced overseas.
You'll see this symbol whenever we've manufactured in the UK and sourced more than 80% of ingredients/materials from there too.
The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with companies and factories to improve labour conditions for garment workers. We prefer to work with factories who have this certification so that we can be sure their workers are paid a fair wage, work in safe conditions and don't use child labour or slavery (yep, that still goes on!).
Organic cotton is grown according to the principles and rules of organic agriculture which are specific and defined by law. All of the organic clothing we supply is certified by GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standards. GOTS certification is a comprehensive monitoring process from the growing cotton stage throughout the manufacturing process.
Sedex is one of the world's leading ethical trade organisations. They audit factories and certify them for fair working conditions and sustainable business practices.
We use this symbol whenever a product has used less energy and resources than the majority of its alternatives. This could apply to the number of miles a product has travelled to get to you (as it's ingredients and the product itself were made in the UK), or it could be linked to the factory we used that are powered by natural energy. For instance, our main supplier of organic cotton tees, vests and sweatshirts is powered entirely by solar energy. Organic cotton is also has a lower carbon footprint due to the significantly smaller amount of water required in it's production.